How are Bank Accounts Handled in a Divorce?

Same Sex Divorce Lawyer Austin, TX

Many couples open joint bank accounts when they get married. Combining incomes and expenses works for most married couples — as long as the marriage works. If the marriage fails, one of the most difficult aspects of dividing property can be dissolving joint bank accounts. It is imperative to have the help of an experienced divorce attorney to advocate for your best interests and to make sure the divorce proceedings are fair and run smoothly.

When dividing property and assets during a divorce, the divorce attorneys and the court will classify bank accounts as either separate or community property. Community property is split up equally in a divorce. Whoever the courts believe is the sole owner of any separate property will keep such property. It isn’t always a given that separate accounts always fall into the category of separate property, This is explained further below.

When are separate accounts not considered separate?

If one of the spouses had an account prior to getting married and then added their spouse’s name to the account, the funds in the account are not considered comingled. This can get complicated during a divorce, because the original account owner may argue that the funds in the account belong to the original owner. However, once the funds are accessible by both parties, or both parties contribute to the account, funds are considered comingled and may be required to be divided in a divorce.

If the account remains in one name but the spouse whose name is not on the account uses the account, the funds may be considered comingled. In this case, the attorneys for both spouses may argue that the funds should remain separate or be divided equally.

When are bank accounts considered separate?

If you can prove that the bank account truly stayed separate throughout the entire marriage, the court may rule that the account may remain separate. There are a few ways to prove this.

Signing a prenuptial agreement listing what property and funds stay separate in the case of a divorce. This can be accomplished by the following:

  • Do not put any community property funds, including income earned during the course of the marriage into that account. If any money made during the marriage is added to this account, itis considered being comingled.
  • The name of the other spouse should never be added to the account. The other spouse never added any funds into that account.
  • If the account has never been comingled, money from an inheritance or gifted funds can be placed in this account. Be sure that the name on the gift or inheritance is only the one spouse. If it contains both names, the funds would be considered comingled and will be divided equally.

Get Help By Consulting a Divorce Attorney

An experienced divorce attorney can help protect your property and assets and make sure the divorce proceedings are handled in a fair and reasonable manner. Call a same-sex divorce lawyer Austin, TX trusts for a free consultation and explanation of our services.

Contact Gray & Becker, P.C. for their insight into child family law and divorce.

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