Are Funds Held in Separate Bank Accounts Protected During a Divorce?

It is not uncommon for married couples to commingle their assets and finances. However, you may still keep a separate bank account for additional funds. In the event you divorce, you may assume that the funds held in your personal bank account will be excluded from the property distribution process. However, this is, generally, untrue. If you are going through a divorce and have funds in a separate bank account, this blog explores how they will be handled and how a New Jersey divorce attorney can assist you during this process.

How Does New Jersey Determine and Divide Equitable Distribution?

In New Jersey, marital property encompasses assets acquired during the marriage. This includes income, investments, and even seemingly personal items like bank accounts. Separate property, on the other hand, refers to assets owned prior to marriage or acquired individually through gifts or inheritances and kept separate during the marriage.

Crucially, separate property can become marital property if it’s commingled with joint assets. For instance, if you deposit your pre-marriage savings into a joint account or use them for marital expenses, these funds could be subject to equitable distribution.

New Jersey courts divide assets based on equitable distribution laws. Unlike a strict 50/50 split, this approach considers each spouse’s contribution to the marriage and aims for a fair, not necessarily equal, division.

If I Deposit Money Into a Separate Bank Account, Will They Be Divided During a Divorce?

Funds in a separate bank account are not automatically protected in a divorce. If the money was earned or deposited into that separate account during the marriage, it’s generally considered marital property, subject to division. However, if the account holds an inheritance or gift made solely to you, and these funds haven’t been mixed with marital assets, they may remain your separate property.

How Can an Attorney Help Protect My Money?

If you are engaged, you may find that creating a prenuptial agreement is the best way to protect your assets if you and your spouse divorce. This is a legal agreement that determines how assets will be distributed should you and your spouse divorce. Additionally, if you’re already married, you may still draft a postnuptial agreement, which serves the same essential purpose as a prenuptial agreement, though it is exclusively for already-married couples, however, these agreements are rarely enforceable.

However, if you are currently going through a divorce, working with an attorney is essential to doing everything in your power to protect your funds. Since New Jersey has equitable distribution laws, your attorney may be able to prove that your spouse did not contribute to the marriage, and you may have a claim for more substantial sum of assets.

At Lawrence Law, we understand the complexities of property distribution during divorce. That is why we are ready to help you. Contact our dedicated firm today to discuss the details of your divorce with an experienced attorney.

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