Lawyers will help you make practical decisions regarding your divorce settlement. A big part of their job is to ensure you're left as financially secure as possible. While you may feel attached to particular physical assets – such as expensive televisions and furniture – fighting over them isn't always practical. Divorce lawyers will help you look beyond your emotions so you can do what's best in the long-run.
Keeping a Private Fund
If you sense a divorce, you must have a source of funds that your spouse can't touch. In times of emotional turmoil, it's not uncommon for disgruntled husbands or wives to completely clean out joint bank accounts, leaving their spouse with little to no money to acquire representation. From a legal standpoint this could be perfectly sound.
If you gave up paid work to spend time parenting or keeping the house in order, you may have risked your own independence. Keeping a private financial reserve can help you significantly in times of marital crisis. While this account doesn't have to be secret from your spouse, it could be separated to ensure your non-marital assets are protected. The amount of money that you'll need to place into this private account will depend on your lifestyle and how much money you'll need to survive if your marriage fails.
Setting Up a Private Bank Account
Set up a personal account in your name, and your name only. Start getting your paychecks and other income sources deposited directly into this account immediately. If divorce is inevitable and you're worried about your assets, consider transferring your share of what's held in the joint account as a precautionary measure. Do not spend this money until the terms of the divorce are final, as these funds could be remanded by the courts.
Private Doesn't Mean "Secret"
Keeping a secret bank account can cause more trouble than it's worth. Just because you keep a private account, it doesn't mean that it should be hidden from your spouse. When it comes to divorce, you have to disclose all of your assets, private or otherwise. Failure to disclose this information is not only unethical, but also illegal. If the money in your private account was premarital, then it should be yours to keep; however, if it was accumulated during the course of your marriage, it is still considered marital property and will be split accordingly.
You can't completely protect all of your assets from divorce; however, by retaining your financial independence during your marriage, you'll find yourself in a much better position. Fundamentally, keeping a private account is your prerogative, especially if your spouse is the primary earner. While any reasonable person will see that this is simply common sense, sadly, there are many who regard it as a breach of trust; therefore, it's up to you to weigh up the pros and cons and decide yourself whether opening a "guard" account is worthwhile.
Legal divorce procedures can take months, possibly even years, to fulfil. While it's a trying time, it's paramount that you listen to your lawyer and not allow your emotions to cloud your judgement. The final outcome may not always provide the financial cushion you hope for. But just remember, your bank balance is merely one aspect of divorce. Success is measured by happiness and your ability to move on with your life, not by how much you managed to salvage.
For more information, contact a practice like Holloway Jenkins Lawyers