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Posts: 11
Registered: ‎04-01-2010
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how to start splitting my accounts now before divorce

We are planning on separating/divorcing.  When I got married, I added my husband to my checking and savings accounts.  He maintained and kept checking and savings accounts in his own name as well.  He told me that he wanted to keep these separate accounts because he was self-employed and used them as "business" accounts.  Do I have right to the money in those accounts?  Also, I have two separate savings accounts for my children.  I am the only one that has rights to add or take out money from those accounts.  If I wanted to put away some money into those accounts, would my husband have any rights to it after we divorce?  Should I be opening up my own checking and savings account now? Or would he get 50% of those accounts because we are married right now?  I am in IL (not a community property state). 

 

He has a lot of "equipment" that he bought over the years we have been married....he tells me that since he bought it under his friend's business account that I would not have any rights to it.  I know he claims some of his purchases as business purchases on income taxes - because of that, would I have any rights to it?  I'm thinking that I could use this as a bargaining chip with him.  I want to keep the house (I bought it right after we married, but he is not on any of the paperwork)...and with the housing market the way it is, we would not get any extra money if we tried to sell right now.  We have three young children, and I can't imagine he would force me to sell the home.  I do want to make it so that once we divorce that he has no rights to the house.  Do people do that?   

 

Also, he apparently has a credit issues that were from before we were married.  None of his unpaid balances have ever been attached to my name - and none of them have ever showed up on my credit report.  For example, I just saw he got another collection agency letter from a credit card he never paid.  Would I be responsible for his debt that occurred before our marriage? 

 

Valued Contributor
Posts: 1,669
Registered: ‎05-24-2007
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Re: how to start splitting my accounts now before divorce

The laws vary quite a bit by state. The normal procedures can vary even more by the court and even the judge. Because my experience is in a Community Property State, I'm going to limit my response.

 

Let's start with accounts and the names on those accounts. Any person on the account can do whatever they want with that money. It should be equalized at the end of divorce but the reality is that is usually a joke. You need to remove his name from "your" accounts immediately. Supposedly a person that takes assets that would go to the other person will have to make things equal at the end BUT the person that has less is in a much better bargaining position.

 

My information is that you are married until DOS (Date Of Separation).  Everything you do up to that point is done as a married person. DOS is not always what you assume. I have personally seen DOS get changed by more than a decade. I bring this up because you said you were "planning on separating/divorcing". If you are still living in the same house then you are very likely still "married". If he was sneaky enough to be buying "equipment under his friend's business account", you might want to be careful. Actually, be careful in any case and protect yourself and your children. Separate "business" accounts and another's business account could mean a lot of different things. Without really specific info, we can only make assumptions.

 

I can tell you that in CA, any money put into your children's Totten Trust Accounts before DOS is Community Property but this is a Community Property State. I don't know how that changes in IL. Actually, everything in CA is assumed to be Community until proved otherwise. Hopefully a state that isn't Community makes things easier and gives the attorneys less to argue about and bill for.

 

I suggest you think about limiting the fees in order to ensure you keep your house. A contentious divorce around here for someone with property and a business seems to cost about 10 times what people think. Protect yourself but don't get caught spending $5,000 in fees to argue about something worth $5,000. In my experience the leverage about his "equipment" is that he would have to pay the court ordered Forensic Accountant fees to determine what equipment is his separate property. If the equipment is worth $10,000 and he will have to pay $5,000 in accounting fees and you will each have to pay $5,000 in attorney fees to determine the ownership, it becomes shared property pretty quick. The "owner" of the business has to pay the accounting fees. Since he kept a separate checkbook, that would be "his" business here. If he claimed the business belonged to both of you, it then has to be valued generating more accounting fees. I would be curious how IL law changes that. Hopefully they have come up with a better system than CA.

Senior Contributor
Posts: 3,626
Registered: ‎10-13-2009
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Re: how to start splitting my accounts now before divorce


77orange77 wrote:

We are planning on separating/divorcing.  When I got married, I added my husband to my checking and savings accounts.  He maintained and kept checking and savings accounts in his own name as well.  He told me that he wanted to keep these separate accounts because he was self-employed and used them as "business" accounts.  Do I have right to the money in those accounts?  Also, I have two separate savings accounts for my children.  I am the only one that has rights to add or take out money from those accounts.  If I wanted to put away some money into those accounts, would my husband have any rights to it after we divorce?  Should I be opening up my own checking and savings account now? Or would he get 50% of those accounts because we are married right now?  I am in IL (not a community property state). 

 

He has a lot of "equipment" that he bought over the years we have been married....he tells me that since he bought it under his friend's business account that I would not have any rights to it.  I know he claims some of his purchases as business purchases on income taxes - because of that, would I have any rights to it?  I'm thinking that I could use this as a bargaining chip with him.  I want to keep the house (I bought it right after we married, but he is not on any of the paperwork)...and with the housing market the way it is, we would not get any extra money if we tried to sell right now.  We have three young children, and I can't imagine he would force me to sell the home.  I do want to make it so that once we divorce that he has no rights to the house.  Do people do that?   

 

Also, he apparently has a credit issues that were from before we were married.  None of his unpaid balances have ever been attached to my name - and none of them have ever showed up on my credit report.  For example, I just saw he got another collection agency letter from a credit card he never paid.  Would I be responsible for his debt that occurred before our marriage? 

 


First of all, even though Illinois is not a community property state, it is an equitable division state and property is divided according to "fairness."  In general, property acquired by either spouse after the marriage and before a judgment of dissolution of marriage is presumed to be marital property, regardless of how titled. 

 

In general, non-marital property belongs to the individual spouse.  In Illinois, non-marital property often includes property used predominantly for business purposes.  Funds set aside for education of the children is usually marital property, but the court could order that the custodial parent retain use of those funds or else establish an education trust.

 

It is difficult to say about the house, but one common scenario is that the custodial parent gets the house, but will lose other property valued at half of the home's value. 

 

Unless you can segregate all debt that your husband incurred prior to marriage from that incurred subsequent to marriage, you may be liable for his credit card debt.  Unless you have been married for a relatively short period of time, segregation is difficult.  If the cards were used for everyday necessities the debt is simply another form of marital debt.

 

I would strongly advise retaining a local attorney in this matter as the law -- and even the way individual courts handle property division -- can be very complex.  I would also strongly encourage a negotiated settlement unless you want to spend a lot more than $5k in legal fees and related expenses.  Also, courts take a dim view of those whose demands were not satisfied through negotiation due to unreasonableness. 

 

 

IAALBNYL
Regular Contributor
Posts: 146
Registered: ‎01-05-2013
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Re: how to start splitting my accounts now before divorce

Sorry to bring up an old thread but what happened to the house?


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Registered: ‎08-04-2007
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Re: how to start splitting my accounts now before divorce


mirachi wrote:

Sorry to bring up an old thread but what happened to the house?


OP hasn't been on since 2010. She did post 7 months after this one with an indication there was no split.

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