Why Having a Prenup Beats Having Separate Bank Accounts in a Divorce
More couples are deciding to maintain separate bank accounts when they marry. They may have a variety of logical reasons for doing so. However, too many of them do so because they believe that it will protect them in the event of a divorce.
The reality is that these couples need a prenup if they are serious about safeguarding their separate bank accounts should the marriage dissolve. Meeting with an experienced attorney before the marriage ceremony is a reliable method for these couples to have all of their questions answered so that they can make informed decisions.
Couples may have a variety of motives for keeping their finances separate. Some of them have vastly different philosophies when it comes to how to handle money. Others are wary of comingling their finances because they watched the difficult process of their own parents splitting up. Because they may have seen their parents endlessly wrangling over assets and finances, they think that keeping their finances separate will prevent them from encountering a similar situation.
Accordingly, many engaged couples plan to maintain the status quo after tying the knot. Each one believes that if their bank account is only in their name, then it won't be subject to the division of assets in the event of a divorce.
While having separate finances while married may reduce conflicts, it is of little or no help for keeping money separate in a divorce. Equitable distribution and community property laws are designed to ensure the fair distribution of money and assets when a couple parts ways. However, an attorney who knows their business may argue that any assets acquired during the course of the marriage by either spouse should be considered (and in New York, is considered) marital property. This means that it is subject to equitable distribution, regardless of whose name is on the account.
The best and easiest way to ensure that both spouses receive all of the contents of their personal bank accounts in the event of a divorce is to have a prenup. This common-sense agreement allows the couple to agree in advance how their assets, money and real property will be divided should their union ever fall apart.
If you believe that you may need a prenup, then contact the Sabra Law Group at (646) 472-7971. Consulting with a matrimonial attorney is an excellent way to explore your finances and learn how both of you can protect yourselves.