No matter how much you want to be separated from your spouse, divorces are always a complex matter. A divorce means to be legally separated from your husband or wife, which includes a lot of baggage. The concept is not only to drift apart lawfully but also to be separated from children, family, and most importantly, money.
One of the most complicated issues in a divorce is the split of assets. In today’s world, almost every married couple has a joint bank account. Divorce lawyers are always in dismay to split the bank accounts as this creates a lot of animosity in the legal procedures.
So, how are bank accounts split in a divorce? Will your personal account also be split in a divorce?
Splitting of bank accounts in a divorce
A divorce means to extricate your entire lives that include splitting everything. Splitting a bank account is one of the most things. However, it can be quite tricky to settle the splitting of money.
In many countries, the separation of money is done even before the divorce case takes place in court. As you can understand from this, splitting money from bank accounts is not as easy as it sounds. Therefore, it leads to the question: how are bank accounts split in a divorce?
The answer is pretty simple. But, the procedure is not as simple as the answer. In almost every case, money is split equally. This means that each party, the husband, and the wife, will take 50% individually. However, the case for a separate or personal account is different.
Furthermore, divorce lawyers sometimes can argue and place a case on more than 50% split in favour of one party. There are cases where one party may get 95% of the split depending on the type of the argument and the pieces of evidence provided.
So, there are still many confusions and queries regarding the issue. We still need to differentiate the process of splitting money for a joint account and other personal accounts. Moreover, it is also important to know how each party can secure their assets in a divorce case.
The case of joint accounts
What should you do about joint bank accounts?
Having a joint bank account is a very common thing for married couples. In fact, it is unhealthy to have separate accounts in married life.
However, joint bank accounts create a lot of problems during separation. Therefore, such a situation should be handled carefully.
Ideally, a joint bank account will be closed during a divorce. But this is not always the case. The funds in your bank account may come into consideration during final settlements.
You should cooperate and have an integrated plan for your joint bank account during a divorce. A divorce or family lawyer can help you with legal consultations as well.
Can/should I empty the joint bank account before my spouse?
It is also a usual scene for one of the spouses to withdraw all the funds from the joint account. Evidently, this is not a good idea! Although both of you have legal access to the account, it will put you in a bad situation, if you empty your funds from the bank account.
The court will not judge kindly to this kind of action. What you can do is get a lawyer and create separate bank accounts with proper paperwork. As a result, your fund transfer will be authorized and completely disclosed.
Can I withdraw money from the joint account?
You cannot empty the funds from your bank account. And, you neither can withdraw money. Typically, a judge will order an Automatic Temporary Restraining Order (ATRO) at the beginning of the case.
This will restrict both the parties involved in a divorce to withdraw money. However, you can still withdraw money for pre-approved reasons.
How much money of the joint bank account am I entitled to?
Sharing a joint account means that you are entitled to half of the money. Finally, when divorce is finalized, the judge will order to split the money 50-50 between the wife and the husband.
However, this may vary in different circumstances. For example, entering the marriage with more money will lead to more than 50% money funded to that spouse from the joint account.
When are joint accounts divided equally?
The assets a couple acquired during the marriage is community property. So, during the event of the divorce, following lawyer suggestion, the money needs to split. Besides, at the end of the case, the judge will give a decision on the splitting of the money.
How do I close a joint account?
When divorce is imminent, you can visit the bank together to close the joint account. This needs a mutual understanding. At the end of the divorce, you can split the money 50-50 or as per court order.
The issue with separate bank accounts during divorce
How does the court view separate bank accounts?
Just by having a personal name under a bank account does not make you entitled to all the money. The court will eventually determine the split, even for personal accounts.
When are bank accounts kept separate?
Although personal accounts do not guarantee that the funds will remain separate, you can protect the funds to stay separate. Signing a prenuptial agreement can ensure which funds and assets will remain separate in a divorce.
There cannot be any money earned during the marriage time in that account. Moreover, the name of the other spouse must not be mentioned anywhere in the document of the account.
Ways of protecting assets during divorce
There are ways you can protect your personal assets during divorce so that they are not split afterwards. You should follow the following steps:
- Firstly, you should open a bank account in your name only. It will ensure that you are using and transacting from that account; thereby, funds will not split.
- Calculate the net worth of all your assets beforehand and create paperwork for them with only your name in them.
- Keep track of the time you are legally separated before divorce finalization. Keep all your assets with you during that time, and make sure your spouse does not have access to your account.
- Finally, you can freeze the joint bank account with the help of a lawyer. It will ensure that your spouse does not use your own funds deposited in that account.
The legal procedures of separation are a hectic experience in life to go through. The complexity and severity of such cases require you to know the answer to the question: how are bank accounts split in a divorce. Having prior knowledge will help you to get the best out of the situation.