New Jersey spouses who maintain separate bank accounts and decide to get a divorce should not automatically assume that their money will be protected just because their name is the only one on the account. In states with community property laws, any assets that are acquired during the course of a marriage are designated as community property. As a result, it belongs to both individuals and is subject to division. Even in the remaining states, which follow equitable distributions laws, having separate financial accounts will not fully protect a person’s money.
Completing a prenuptial agreement is the easiest and most effective way to protect assets. Putting together a prenuptial agreement also means that individuals will have to discuss their finances with their significant others. People who prefer to not sign a prenuptial agreement should obtain copies of all their financial account statements for the month before their wedding. Individuals should make sure to maintain records of where any of their money originated so that there will be fewer issues with claiming it as their own if a divorce occurs.
Those who receive an inheritance while they are married should make sure to keep it separate and be careful about what they use it for. For example, if the funds are used to make upgrades to the family home, they could be considered commingled, and it may be difficult to assert in the future that the money belongs to one spouse over the other.
A divorce attorney may help people obtain their desired settlement terms regarding how certain valuable assets, such as financial accounts, are divided. Lawyers may litigate to ensure that their clients obtain the portion of the marital assets to which they may be legally entitled.