This is the next post in my series on creating postnuptial agreements in Las Vegas, Nevada. My last article discussed how spouses should conduct themselves after signing a postnuptial contract. It is important to understand that commingling your assets or debts can result in your agreement being rendered ineffective. By discussing your situation with an attorney, you can help to ensure that you are properly protecting your interests. In this article I will discuss how such a contract can help protect a party from their spouse’s IRS problems. If you are in need of assistance then contact my office today to speak with a lawyer.
Nevada is a community property state. This means that, absent an enforceable written agreement, assets or debts acquired during a marriage are seen as belonging equally to two spouses. This includes wages and is true whether or not an asset or debt is only in the name of one party. While community property laws can help a spouse to ensure that they receive their “fair share” at the time of a divorce, they also result in the IRS potentially being able to garnish and seize a spouse’s wages and assets due to the other spouse’s tax problems. This is due to the fact that if something is seen as belonging to both spouses, then it can be used to satisfy the debt of the spouse who owes taxes.
A postnuptial agreement allows for parties to contract around Nevada’s community property laws. This means that the assets or wages of the spouses will be considered “separate” at the time of a divorce. Such agreements are recognized by the IRS and the agency will not levy the assets of the non-owing spouse if a property contract is in place. Consider the following example. Jack and Jill get married. A year later, Jack is audited by the IRS for tax years which were prior to the marriage. The IRS determines that Jack owes $50,000 for these years and threatens Jack with garnishment. They will garnish Jill’s wages as well. Jack and Jill may then sign a postnuptial agreement declaring that Jill’s wages are her separate property and the parties open separate accounts. The spouses may provide the IRS with a copy of the agreement and the IRS would not garnish Jill’s wages or property.
If you or your spouse have tax problems then a postnuptial agreement may help you to shield your assets from the IRS. It is important, however, that the agreement be properly drafted and that you discuss your situation with an attorney. Counsel will help you to understand whether an agreement will, in fact, help to shield your assets from the IRS. Furthermore, counsel can help you to understand your full range of options. I am a Las Vegas family lawyer and I devote my practice solely to domestic relations law. I understand that creating a postnuptial agreement is a major step in your life and my office will give your case the attention it deserves. Contact us online or by telephone to schedule an initial consultation.