Every step of the divorce process is difficult. First, you make the decision to get a divorce that will forever alter your life, and then you must watch your life be divided up by two legal teams and your former spouse. Typically, children and finances are the subjects that bring up the most deliberation between soon-to-be exes. It can be difficult to watch everything in your life become a number to be split, but unfortunately, this is inevitable for those filing for divorce. Some couples may keep separate bank accounts throughout their marriage for their own sense of security and to be prepared for divorce if the relationship does not last. This decision is often made without consulting legal professionals or having a proper understanding of Illinois’ property division laws. Before you and your spouse decide to stay financially separate, you should recognize how this will affect your divorce.

Why Have Different Accounts?

Studies have shown that financial difficulties are one of the main reasons for divorce. This may mean that couples argue over their income disparities, their levels of control over accounts, or even their spending habits. Some couples look to avoid these arguments by keeping their accounts separate. This can promote autonomy in their relationship and avoid disputes regarding their spending since they are using the money that they earned themselves. Having a stronger relationship is not the only reason for separate bank accounts. In a similar way to prenuptial agreements, some couples may try to protect their earnings in the event they decide to legally terminate their marriage. 

Equitable Distribution

The term “marital property” refers to any finances or assets acquired throughout the course of your marriage. This includes any earnings, purchased properties, or gifts that were given to you while married. It is commonly understood that items such as your family home or vehicle are marital assets, but many may not know that your salary is considered combined with your spouse’s salary, and they have rights regarding this money in a divorce. However, Illinois is not a community property state, which means that assets will be divided equitably, but that does not necessarily mean divided in half. With this in mind, many believe that having separate bank accounts keeps them safe in their Illinois divorce, but this is not always the case.

Illinois prides itself on being one of the equitable division states, meaning that rather than automatically dividing things 50/50, the court will look into your overall circumstances. This includes the names tied to the bank accounts. It is important to note that having your own bank account by no means guarantees that the money will not be considered a marital asset. If you and your spouse each have separate bank accounts, judges will consider your desire to keep your finances separate while making their decision on how much each person will receive. Having your own bank account may not mean that your former spouse will receive none of it, but your intention behind having your own account will be taken into consideration and may affect the court’s decisions. The court will also review your responsibilities and lifestyles. Whoever is allocated the majority of the parental responsibilities will likely receive financial assistance from the other spouse. 

Contact a Hillside, IL Asset Division Lawyer

Before getting married, some couples may speak to a family lawyer to create a prenuptial agreement or to discuss their options if they do file for divorce later in life. This can sometimes ease the stress or pressure one might be feeling before making a marriage commitment. For those who try to do this prep work on their own, often by keeping separate bank accounts, they may be disappointed in the asset division legal process when they realize that separate accounts may still be considered marital property. The Law Office of Vincent C. Machroli, P.C. works with engaged couples and divorcing spouses to explain the asset division legal process. For help dividing up your marital properties, contact our skilled Oak Park divorce attorney today at 708-449-7404 to schedule a free consultation.

 

Sources:

https://www.investopedia.com/terms/m/maritalproperty.asp

https://finance.zacks.com/can-husband-money-saved-bank-under-name-during-marriage-5005.html

https://money.usnews.com/banking/articles/the-case-for-and-against-spouses-having-joint-checking-accounts

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/documents/075000050k503.htm

 

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