Spouse A brings home a good paycheck. Spouse B does, too. And instead of creating one joint account, they decide to keep their funds separate and just use their apps to send each other money for things like the mortgage payment, utilities or groceries.
After all, Spouse A’s money belongs to Spouse A. Spouse B’s belongs to Spouse B. And it will stay that way if they divorce, right?
No. Just because only one person’s name is on a bank account or an asset, like a car, doesn’t mean what’s theirs is theirs in case of divorce. In fact, once you get married, the lines blur. You shouldn’t assume “what’s mine is mine” in a divorce in Pennsylvania or any state.
The advantage of married people having individual accounts and then contributing to a joint account, or just giving money to the household bill-payer, is that the money remaining in the account at the end of the month can be better used for discretionary spending. It cuts down on financial squabbles between parties. It provides no legal protection, however.
In a divorce in an equitable distribution state such as Pennsylvania, it typically is thought that assets acquired during the marriage are to be divided fairly. That means that some of Spouse A’s assets could shift to Spouse B, or vice versa, in a fair distribution.
No one likes to think of the possibility of divorce when they marry, but the best way to protect the assets acquired during a marriage is to sign a prenuptial agreement.
But if you don’t have a prenup and are considering a divorce, it’s wise to seek legal advice to find out just where you might stand when it comes to dividing assets.