Separate Bank Accounts Won’t Always Protect Your Money in Divorce
Work with a skilled Brentwood divorce attorney who strategically protects your assets
Divorce doesn’t usually come on suddenly. Most people start thinking about it months or even years before they announce the decision to their spouse. Some are hesitant to put an end to the long history they share, and some worry about the financial ramifications. Those who worry about money may start to put a little aside in an individual account – or even open up a secret account – to protect themselves when they finally pull the plug and announce their decision to divorce.
However, it doesn’t matter whether an account or property is in your name, unless it’s an inheritance, or gift, or you have a prenuptial agreement that protects it. If you are getting a divorce in Tennessee, anything that you earn or acquire during the marriage is marital property and is subject to equitable distribution in the divorce. There are exceptions to this rule. That is why consulting with a qualified attorney before you decide to divorce can be important. I’m Judy A. Oxford, an experienced Brentwood divorce attorney, and I help clients learn how to protect their finances in a divorce without taking needless steps like hiding money – which could also land them in legal trouble.
What is equitable distribution in Tennessee?
Nine states are known as “community property” states, which means that any property – including income and debts – acquired during the marriage belongs equally to both spouses. Tennessee is not a community property state. Instead, it is known as an “equitable distribution” state. Instead of dividing everything equally, the courts attempt to divide the marital estate “equitably” (i.e., fairly), ensuring that each spouse has a fair division of the assets and debts based on the criteria set forth in the law. That might mean that one gets more than the other, depending on certain factors.
I help my clients identify the assets that are most important to them, such as the marital home or their retirement account. Then I put together a strategy to try to win that settlement through mediation or in court. That may mean giving up other assets in order to win what’s most important to you, and it may even mean selling some assets to “buy out” your spouse. I fight to help every client get the best settlement or judgment they can.
Hiding assets can get you in trouble
Not only can putting money into a separate account prove fruitless, but it can have significant consequences in your divorce. If you are putting money into an individual account without your spouse’s knowledge, and your spouse eventually finds out about it, it can jeopardize your divorce settlement. And if your case is tried, your attempts to hid your money can cause the judge to believe you do not have any credibility, which can cause the judge to not believe your testimony about other issues, which can significantly affect the judgment that is awarded in the divorce case.
If you are worried your spouse is the one who has put money away in a secret account, I can help you try to find it. If financially feasible, I work with a private investigator and other necessary experts to try to find money and assets that your spouse may be hiding to ensure that you get a fair divorce settlement or judgment.
Don’t separate assets – work with a dedicated TN divorce lawyer to try to get the resolution you want
Don’t lure yourself into a sense of false confidence by putting your money into a separate account, and don’t put yourself at risk of legal troubles. Contact me, Judy A. Oxford, an experienced Brentwood divorce attorney, to help you get the divorce settlement or judgment you believe you deserve. Call my office at (615) 791-8511 to schedule a free consultation, or use the secure form on my website.