Separate Accounts Might Not Be So Distant In Divorce

On Behalf of | Mar 26, 2020 | Assets |

Just because you don’t manage your money in traditional ways doesn’t mean it isn’t subject to the same old laws in divorce. When you’re looking to part ways with your partner, separate bank accounts may not be as separate as you think.

28% of millennials keep their finances separate from their spouse, some in the hopes that it will make things easier in case a divorce looms. But keeping your numbers in different locations isn’t ironclad protection from division when Minnesota law has a few things to say on the matter.

Legal separation

There are a few clauses that outline how the state defines nonmarital property:

  • You got the assets before you entered into the marriage
  • Someone names one of you, not both, as the recipient of a gift or inheritance
  • You got the property after you found the value of your assets for the courts
  • There was an agreement ahead of the marriage that you would retain sole ownership
  • An increase in value or exchange of something that falls in line with the other exceptions

Commingling money

That can leave a heap of things still on the table for the courts to label as marital property. Once you use a source of income, rental property or even an inheritance toward household costs, a judge may see it as contributing to commingled assets.

Buying groceries, paying rent and remodeling the kitchen could be ascending ways that your funds chip in for the household, and it will be increasingly tough to split all that from the final judgment. Even if your name is the only one on the deed to the house, it could be up for a marital tag. If your spouse has lived there, contributed to payments or upkeep and helped raise your family there, then the nonmarital argument is going to get more difficult.

Ongoing maintenance

Separate property gets harder to maintain the longer your marriage lasts and the more intertwined your lives are. You can try to keep things split, but lonely accounts may always be a hair’s breadth away from being marital property.