People in Ohio who get a divorce should know that having bank accounts that are separate from those of their future ex-spouses does not automatically mean that their funds will be protected. There are other factors that are used to determine how the funds will be handled.
For married individuals who reside in a community property state, such as Wisconsin, Washington, Texas, New Mexico, Nevada, Louisiana, Idaho, California, Arizona and Alaska, any assets that are obtained during a marriage are considered community property and legally belong to both spouses. In the remaining states, which adhere to the equitable distribution principle, the assets that are obtained during a marriage belong to the party who earned it.
While equitable distribution may seem straightforward, a legal argument can be made during a divorce that the assets that were acquired by either spouse should be classified as marital property that is subject to division, which may not always be equal. Also, the court may require that the separate assets of one spouse be used as funding for a fair divorce settlement.
In order to protect their money, individuals who are getting married should complete a prenuptial agreement. It is also a useful tool for getting couples to discuss their finances. Those who do not want to complete a prenuptial agreement should consider obtaining copies of all their account statements for the month preceding their marriage. This can serve as proof of what each party had before getting married.
A family law attorney may advise clients who are considering divorce about what steps they should take to protect their finances. A lawyer may work to obtain the divorce settlement terms clients prefer. Litigation may be used to ensure that prenup terms that pertain to financial assets are honored.