Generally, married couples choose to have joint bank accounts, where spouses have equal access to pay bills, buy groceries, and meet child-care needs. Some may maintain a separate bank account for savings and retirement purposes. However, many couples keep their funds separate, which can lead to concern when they decide to end their marriage as they question individual ownership. Please continue reading to learn whether separate bank accounts are subject to division and how an adept Rockland County Property Distribution Attorney can help you safeguard your hard-earned assets during the division of assets. 

Will a separate bank account protect my assets during property distribution in New York?

In some cases, spouses may keep their finances separate from their partner throughout their marriage to keep their property solely theirs. However, just because your spouse’s name is not on the bank account or their income has never been deposited does not mean that all the funds within a separate bank account solely belong to you. Unfortunately, there is no guarantee that you will receive all the money in the account during property distribution.

How are bank accounts split in a divorce?

When you decide to dissolve your marriage, marital property, meaning any assets acquired during the marriage, will be subject to division. New York is an equitable distribution state, which means that a couple’s marital assets will be split fairly, not necessarily equally, between each party during the division of assets.

If a bank account were established or used after marriage, the funds would be split between spouses. This is because both spouses use the assets as they have been commingled. When assets are commingled, they are usually subject to division. Even though one spouse’s name is not on the account, they may use the funds to pay for groceries or make mortgage payments, which makes both spouses entitled to receive a share of the marital assets during property distribution.

Nevertheless, a few instances exist where the funds in a separate bank account are considered separate property and not subject to division. If no money acquired during the marriage was deposited into the account and your spouse’s name was never added, it will be considered separate property. If the account does not contain financial gifts bearing both spouse’s names, the funds will not be regarded as commingled, meaning they will not be subject to division.

If a divorce is imminent, it is in your best interest to contact an experienced Rockland County property distribution attorney from The Law Office of Peter L. Jameson, PLLC, who can help you navigate the division of assets. During property division, there is a lot at stake. Our firm can help protect your separate funds.