According to a survey conducted by Bank of America, 28% of people in the millennial generation choose not to establish joint bank accounts with their spouses. Members of this generation in Virginia are more likely to keep their financial lives entirely separate than previous generations. Part of the reason may be that technology, including financial apps and services, has made it easier to share expenses, and part of the reason may be that millennials have seen how hard it can be to divide assets in divorce.
Simply maintaining separate accounts and financial lives may not be enough to keep assets separate in divorce. Most states have laws that call for equitable distribution of assets and liabilities, and property acquired by either spouse during the marriage might arguably be marital property, making it subject to division by the family court. Equitable division means the court will endeavor to divide assets fairly, but not necessarily divide them equally.
Having some funds in a separate account can prove useful, though, practically speaking. In contentious divorces, it can be helpful to have easy, unencumbered access to money. If all accounts are held jointly, one spouse might be able to limit the access of the other to funds. One of the best ways for people to protect their assets is a prenuptial agreement. Nearly 66% of attorneys say they've seen the total numbers of prenups increasing.
An attorney with experience practicing divorce and family law might be able to help people who are considering divorce, as well as those interested in prenups. An attorney may help the spouse prepare for the divorce filing, and let him or her know what to expect. The attorney might also be able to negotiate the conditions of property division with the other spouse or pursue an order allowing the client access to the couples' bank accounts.