By the time someone starts seriously considering divorce, they have probably been unhappy or dissatisfied with their marriage for months if not years. Even if you didn’t have separate accounts in just your name when you got married, you may have started one when you began planning for divorce.
Setting money aside to support yourself is common advice for those considering divorce. However, it’s crucial that you recognize that the name on the account does not make it or its contents solely yours. Under Minnesota law, you will still need to disclose your pre-divorce checking account, your secret savings account and even your private credit card to your spouse and the courts.
You have to provide complete financial transparency
Unless you already have an agreement with your spouse in writing about what you will do with your property when you divorce, you will need to disclose financial records to them and probably to the courts.
Couples who go through mediation or collaborative divorce can avoid disclosing all of their personal property to the court, but they still have to provide honest and accurate information to one another. If you can’t cooperate, then the judge presiding over your divorce will be the one to review your financial records.
Intentionally hiding financial accounts could lead to accusations of misconduct. While the courts typically try to be fair under the equitable distribution law in Minnesota, that fairness might include penalizing you for hiding property from the court and from your ex.
Timing is often more important than the name on the account
The easiest way to determine what is marital property you might have to split and what is separate property is to look at when you acquired that property. After you get married, you have to share everything you own and even your income with your spouse. When you divorce, everything that you earned and received while married, with the exception of inheritance has and gifts, will likely get split.
Having an account only in your name does not prevent your spouse from making a claim against that property under Minnesota divorce laws. Learning about property division in Minnesota can help you prepare for an upcoming divorce.