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Separate versus marital: Is that a discussion worth having?

If you visit a seasoned family law attorney prior to marriage with the terms "separate" and "marital" on your mind, that lawyer is going to know exactly what you are concerned about.

In a word: property.

Here's the deal. Many individuals in Massachusetts and elsewhere about to tie the marital knot approach their new relationship already owning significant assets. A person seeking legal advice might own a home, additional real estate, perhaps even a business. He or she might have received valuable gifts or be the lucky recipient of a large inheritance. And, of course, many soon-to-be-wed adults have company-sponsored retirement plans, various savings accounts and other sources of wealth.

It is far from surprising that they want to see those assets protected going forward. And it understandable that they seek the candid and studied advice of a legal professional for strategies to promote that goal.

A recent article on divorce planning geared toward asset protection and retention notes the collective view of many that planning for marital dissolution "may be cynical."

Is that really true, though? One commentator and money manager points out that putting on a seat belt before driving might be similarly viewed, but is undeniably a smart move.

In fact, it is arguably just good sense for any marrying person who has assets denoted as separate property (wealth procured prior to marriage, through inheritance and so forth) to duly focus upon their post-marital protection.

A proven divorce attorney well versed in property-related issues well understands any party's desire to talk about separate property and legally address it in a purposeful way, and can provide professional input on the matter.

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