Individual Bank Accounts: Do These Fall Under Marital Property?
Are Separate Bank Accounts Marital Property?
For couples facing a divorce, it is common for them to have either or both joint and individual bank accounts. For example, my husband and I have a joint account that we use mainly for bills and savings, but we also have accounts for settling our IRAs. During a divorce, one of the first things a divorce attorney would ask is if they each have a separate account – if yes, this could be a bit more complex.
The Question Is: Whose Money Is It?
Accounts that have been opened after marriage, whether joint or individual, will be equally divided during a divorce. Joint accounts used by the couples are considered conjugal properties; from there, both parties own the money, which will be divided during a divorce. Regarding marriage, the name on the paper serves for formality and documentation purposes, but it isn’t a deciding factor as to “whose” money it is. For both courts and divorce lawyers, consider bank accounts and see them in various ways: separate and company property. Couples share their community properties during a divorce, including the money in their joint account. However, for couples with separate property, such as real estate or a savings account established even before the marriage, the judge may award the separate property to the sole owner.
To know more, you may read NRS 125.210.
Community Money Defined
You’ll often hear your divorce attorney and the courts mention “community” money – often described as assets owned by both parties involved in the marriage. For example, if you’ve made an automobile purchase during your marriage, that is considered community property. If you purchased with a credit card bill to your name, this is still considered community property. That also applies to all properties you’ve purchased while inside the marriage, such as your furniture, the house you bought, bank accounts recently opened during the marriage, and stock purchases. The overall divorce process ideally splits all community property equally to the former couple unless one party would contest there has been a marital waste. Community property doesn’t just apply to assets but also to debts acquired by the couple. It means that whatever debt is left will be equally divided. You must hire a reliable and experienced divorce attorney to help you through this process swiftly and less painlessly. When will your assets be considered separate? Separate assets have been purchased or owned even before the marriage. For example, suppose you had a bank account with $50,000 before getting married, and the account remained under your name without adding your spouse. In that case, there are higher chances that the courts will consider it a separate account and not divide it equally during the divorce.
When Is Separate Account No Longer Considered Separate?
Property comingling means combining properties or funds into a “common” fund or stock. While this may seem straightforward initially, it gets complicated if separate property is mixed with community property. When this happens, that separate property will be considered community property and equally divided. Comingling may occur in various ways, and a common scenario is when you add your spouse’s name to a bank account you had before you had your marriage. For example, you have a bank account with $50,000 deposited into it. You had it before marriage, added your spouse’s name, and used it as the primary bank account to pay your bills and savings. The original $50,000 will be blended, meaning the $50,000 you initially had is now considered community property. What if you didn’t add your spouse’s name to the account but still used it for bills, expenses, and savings? Commingling may still be possible.
However, in this case, the court will consider the initial $50,000 amount as separate property, and the succeeding amounts afterward will then be community property. Your divorce attorney will be able to make a compelling argument, which bank records can then support. If you wish to learn more about which properties fall under “separate” and “community” assets, please check out one of the articles contributed by one of our experienced divorce lawyers: Division of Property and Debt.
To know more about actions for support, please read NRS 125.190.
Keeping Your Bank Account Separate
There are various ways to keep and retain a bank account separate from the courts: * The account should only be under your name. * The account must not receive incoming money deposits coming from community property. You should only add some money earned during a marriage to your separate account. * Inheritance, gifts, and other given money may go to your separate account. If both spouses’ names are on the gift, it cannot go to a separate account as this may cause commingling. * Always remember to document financial records not just before the wedding but also during and after the marriage. These records can significantly help you in case you’re planning a divorce. Your divorce attorney will use the records to prove that the account must remain separate. Contact our Las Vegas Divorce Attorney and set up an appointment for a free consultation. Reach us at (702) 474-0500.
Donn W. Prokopius, Chtd.
3407 W Charleston BlvdLas Vegas, NV 89102