Just as someone puts a seat belt on even though he or she is not planning to get into an accident, people should prepare and plan for getting divorced. Illinois residents may be able to protect assets from creditors or property division by creating a prenuptial agreement. It may also be possible to do so by keeping assets in a separate account. As a general rule, separate property refers to anything a person owned prior to a marriage.

It may also refer to certain types of property that were inherited during a marriage. However, it is important to note that separate property could become joint property if safeguards are not put in place. For instance, using funds from a joint account to maintain an asset owned before a marriage could make it marital property. This is known as commingling of assets.

In some cases, couples will create joint accounts to pay joint expenses. Those accounts are generally funded by contributions from each party to the relationship. Ideally, couples will open new accounts as opposed to adding their spouses’ names to an existing one. This may decrease the odds that commingling will occur. New accounts should be opened for an inheritance or any other money that is meant to be separate property.

Individuals who may be planning to get a divorce may want to talk with a family law attorney. This may make it easier for people to get their questions answered regarding the status of an asset as well as other financial matters. In some cases, individuals may be entitled to a greater share of the marital assets based on their current financial status. Spousal support and child support payments may also be based on the resources an individual may need to live a reasonable lifestyle after a marriage ends.