To the more romantic among us, this will sound cynical but the best divorce strategies start before you say “I Do.” Romantic marriage, the idea of marrying for love, is a concept born out of the industrialized age when wealth became more widespread. There was a time when marriages were made for property, protection, and political advantage. If you were lucky, love came later.

This is not to advocate returning to those ways, but it does not hurt to be aware before you get married what you might lose if the marriage does not work out. The statistics are that more than forty percent of all marriages today end in divorce. Be realistic and consider the following divorce strategies:

  • Do you need a prenuptial agreement—if you have significant property in your own name prior to the marriage, or this is a second marriage, a prenuptial agreement is imperative.
  • Do you know what the property division laws are in your state.
  • If you have property in your name before the marriage, should you add your spouse’s name—maybe, maybe not.

The best divorce strategy is to take the time to know your partner well before marriage and to consider pre-marriage counseling.

Assume you have taken some of these precautions and things still do not work out—can you plan for a divorce? Be aware that it is not wise to hide assets if there is a way that the your spouse can find out. You could find yourself being penalized in a property division. There are some things that you can do to improve your situation.

  • Consider a rainy day fund.  If you are a stay-at-home wife, and only have access to household money, find ways to cut your expenses and put any savings in a safe place.  If you are working, put more of the money you keep for yourself in a safe place.
  • Have credit cards in your own name, keep the balances low, but buy something small occasionally to start establishing credit separate from your spouse.
  • Have your own checking account, savings account and brokerage account separate from your spouse.
  • Keep your resume up-to-date or take classes to keep your work skills sharp.  Volunteer work is a good way to keep up your work skills.  It could develop into paying work if you get divorce.

Finally, always be aware of what is going on in your marriage. Do not let work, children, or your house, blind you from the health of your relationship with your spouse. Being aware will let you correct problems before it is too late.

Having some divorce strategies—just in case—is important!


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