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The financial impact of divorce on: your joint accounts

Oct 13, 2021 | Property Division

Throughout the next few blog posts, we will explore the various ways a divorce impacts individuals financially. Often, money is the top concern people have when they end a marriage, and understanding how things may change can help you plan accordingly.

In this post, we will look at how a divorce can affect your joint accounts, as well as what you should and should not do when handling this money.

Which accounts are considered joint?

Most married couples in Fort Bend have at least one type of joint account. These could include:

  • Checking accounts
  • Savings accounts
  • Credit cards
  • Lines of credit
  • Mortgages

The assets and debts held in these accounts could belong to you, your ex or both of you.

Accounts could be separate property if you opened them before you were married, as could the money either party collected or contributed before the wedding.

Keep in mind that even if you think money is separate because you collected it before marriage or received it through inheritance, it can become community property if you put it into a joint account.

Dividing your joint accounts

Texas is a community property state. This means that generally, every asset and dollar acquired during a marriage belongs to the community, or the married couple.

So, the money in your joint accounts will likely be divided equally between parties. Even if you contributed more than your ex or vice versa, joint accounts are typically community property and subject to equal division.

Tips for protecting money in joint accounts

If you have joint accounts and are divorcing, one of the most important things you can do is open your own accounts. This allows you to keep your finances separate after filing.

It is also crucial that neither party withdraw funds without approval from the courts or the other party. If you or your ex take out money to hide or spend it, the courts can hand down a punishment requiring that person to reimburse or reward the other party for misusing those funds.

The money in joint accounts can be a source of stress and conflict when dividing assets in a divorce. However, understanding more about these accounts and what happens to the money in them can help you avoid costly mistakes and assumptions about your rights.