The simplest, best way for couples to ensure their assets are protected in Hawaii may be a prenuptial agreement. Millennials are agreeing to prenups more frequently than before, as is the population overall. Keeping assets separate has become easier and millennials are doing that too. Among people from that generation, 28% do not have joint bank accounts with their spouses and do not commingle their assets. Apps like Zelle and Venmo make it easier to split things down the middle in real time, and many millennials have seen the difficulties that can arise when dividing assets in divorce.

Separate bank accounts and even separate ownership of assets may not mean separate legal ownership if the couple divorces. Most of the states divide assets between former spouses based on an equitable distribution. This means the couple’s assets may be pooled together, even if they’ve been keeping them separate, and divided fairly, which may not be equally. Cases vary widely based on the facts, and the judge has wide discretion.

Prenuptial agreements have tremendous benefits for engaged couples. They force financial conversations that can sometimes be awkward but that should happen sooner rather than later. It can also be a good idea to take inventory of assets and print out bank statements immediately prior to marriage, so the person knows exactly what he or she brought into the marriage financially.

People who have questions about dividing assets on divorce or making wise decisions while preparing for marriage might want to meet with a lawyer. A lawyer who has experience practicing family law might be able to help by examining the facts of the situation and drafting a prenuptial agreement to meet the client’s goals and needs. A divorce lawyer may draft and file a petition for divorce to begin the process or argue on behalf of the client during alimony or child custody hearings.