Imagine the husband and wage-earner of a married couple has a big deal coming down the pike. Their marriage has been failing for some time, though they remain together.
Or the wife suspects adultery, or has tired of the husband’s abusive alcoholism or drug addiction.
In each instance, the mate wants to secure his or her finances by capping the other’s access to ongoing earnings.
In both scenarios, as a way to protect one’s financial interests, a spouse can file for divorce. Ostensibly, the filing is positioned as a way to enter counseling in an effort to save the marriage. But legally, filing the papers effectively protected the filer’s financial interests from the date of filing forward. This could include if or when he lands that deal or wants to limit financial fall-out from an affair or abuse.
Saving a marriage is important. But for one spouse – or both, protecting individual best interests amounts to a wise defensive measure.
One way to do so is to file for divorce. Florida law recognizes the filing of divorce papers as the date when joint assets going forward are identified. Filing for divorce effectively establishes a cut-off date for financial responsibility. So, if that wage earner’s deal comes to fruition, proceeds are separate from the marital estate.
The couple can separate or enter counseling, in hopes of reconciling or coming to terms.
If reconciliation is reached and the couple decides to stay together, a post-nuptial agreement may be wise. Generally designed to protect the financial interests of the one with the greater assets, post-nuptial agreements can set forth rules for behavior, for example, no cheating.
Filing divorce papers can be a powerful way to change your spouse’s behavior, and an effective fiscal protection in a suffering marriage. If they help convince both parties to ensure counseling, that’s all the better.