It’s not uncommon for spouses to intermingle their assets after they get married. Many couples find this the easiest way to pay for housing, bills, vacations, and other expenses. However, you may have a separate bank account in which you make deposits. In the event you and your spouse divorce, you may wonder what will happen to these funds. Unfortunately, many people do not enlist the help of Somerset County property distribution lawyers, making this process much more complex and confusing. The following blog explores what you can expect during a divorce and why you need an experienced attorney.
How Does New Jersey Determine Marital Assets?
In New Jersey, marital assets are dependent on when the asset was obtained. In most instances, if an asset is obtained during the marriage, it is deemed marital property. The exception to this is if the asset was gifted or inherited, in which case it will be considered separate.
Separate assets are those obtained before or after the marriage. For example, if someone has a rental home they purchased before getting married, that will be deemed separate. It is important to note that separate property can become marital property if the assets are co-mingled with marital property.
If I Have Assets Held in a Separate Bank Account, Can I Keep Them?
If you have a separate bank account, you may think that as long as you do not mingle the funds, this money will remain yours during a divorce. Unfortunately, this is not true. Because you were depositing these assets during your marriage, the funds were deemed marital property. As such, they are subject to division.
The only exception is if you made deposits from gifts or inheritances solely in your name. In this instance, these assets would remain separate property so long as you do not mingle them with joint assets.
What Can I Do to Protect My Funds?
New Jersey follows the equitable distribution doctrine, meaning marital assets will be divided between divorcing spouses based on how much each spouse contributed to the marriage. These are financial and domestic contributions to protect stay-at-home parents.
One way to protect your finances and receive a more substantial portion of assets is to prove to the courts that your spouse did not contribute much to your marriage.
If you are not already married, you may want to consider creating a prenuptial agreement. This legally binding document created before marriage determines how you and your spouse will divide assets in the event of a divorce.
Unfortunately, navigating a divorce on your own can be incredibly difficult. As such, it’s in your best interest to contact an experienced attorney to help you through these challenging times. At the Siragusa Law Firm, we are ready to represent and fight for you. Contact us today to learn more.