Can I keep assets held in a separate bank account in a divorce?
It is common for couples to merge their finances by sharing bank accounts when they get married, making it easier to pay their shared bills and other expenses. However, in the event of a divorce, couples who have blended their assets may experience challenges during the division of assets. This is primarily because the funds they may have deposited into a separate bank account may be considered marital property and subject to equitable distribution. If you are worried about what will happen to the funds held in a separate bank account during the division of assets, please continue reading and contact a knowledgeable Nassau County Division of Assets Attorney who can help you safeguard your separate property during property distribution.
Are separate bank accounts considered marital property?
New York is an equitable distribution state, meaning marital property will be split between divorcing couples fairly, not necessarily equally. Marital property represents assets acquired during the marriage. Each spouse is entitled to a share of their marital assets. Despite your spouse’s name not being on a separate bank account and their income never being deposited, that does not necessarily mean that all the funds belong solely to you.
Unfortunately, separate bank accounts are not protected from property division if the assets deposited were acquired during the marriage. Although the funds were not commingled, since they were deposited during the marriage, they will be deemed as marital property, which will be subject to equitable distribution. Ultimately, your spouse could be entitled to a share of the funds in your separate bank account.
When are they considered separate property?
Although, in most cases, separate bank accounts will be considered marital property, there are exceptions in which they are regarded as separate property. If the funds in a separate bank account were not acquired during the marriage, it will be considered separate property and, therefore, is not subject to equitable distribution. However, if any income received during the marriage is placed in this account, it will be considered commingled.
Additionally, if the other spouse’s name was never added to the account and they never contributed to the account from their income, it will be considered separate property. Generally, any gifts or inheritances a spouse has received are not considered a marital asset. However, if financial gifts bear both spouses’ names and the funds were deposited into the account, the money will be regarded as commingled and, therefore, subject to equitable distribution.
If you are undergoing a divorce and are unsure of how to divide funds in a separate bank account, it is in your best interest to contact a qualified Nassau County divorce attorney from The Pollack Law Firm, P.C., who can help you safeguard your hard-earned assets during property division.