One of the most important steps to take before you file for divorce is to create a full inventory of all your personal and joint accounts. This includes accounts with banks, credit unions, credit cards, brokerages and lending institutions. Included with this list should be the following
- All account numbers
- Whether the account is listed in your name, your spouse’s name or both
- The balances in those accounts
- Phone numbers and addresses for all banks and creditors
- Automatic withdrawals currently scheduled from accounts
- The date you opened the account
- The balance on the account or loan prior to your marriage, if applicable
Putting together this list of accounts can help prevent your spouse from getting away with concealing assets from you once you actually file the divorce paperwork.
It is also a good idea to open a new bank account during your divorce, especially if your spouse has been irresponsible with your marital assets. You should inform your spouse and the court about the new account, but be aware that any income you earn until the divorce is finalized is still considered marital property.
Be very careful about closing out accounts during your divorce. You may close out credit card accounts that do not have a balance, but accounts that are being actively used should remain open. You do not want to give the appearance to the court that you are sabotaging your spouse’s finances. Your best option is to keep track of your balances and your spouse’s spending, and to report any strange withdrawals, charges or purchases to your attorney as soon as possible.
What Can’t You Do with a Prenuptial Agreement?
A prenuptial agreement is an effective tool to help you keep your finances separate, protect yourself from potential debt, keep your property in your family, clarify who is responsible for what during your marriage and planning what happens to your property in the event of a divorce. However, there are limits to what prenuptial agreements can accomplish.
The general rule is that anything illegal or “unconscionable” is off limits with a prenup. Here are some examples:
- Restricting rights to child support, custody or visitation: Child support is considered a right of every child, which means no court will honor any prenuptial agreement that involves one or both spouses either limiting or forgoing child support. Additionally, visitation and custody sharing are determined by what is in the best interests of the child, and so courts will not allow prenuptial agreements to interfere with those decisions.
- Encouraging a future divorce: Sometimes, a judge will analyze how a prenuptial agreement specifies the potential split of assets in the event of a divorce and declare the agreement void because it makes divorce lucrative or beneficial for one of the spouses.
- Making certain types of rules: Although prenups can be used to outline certain financial guidelines for the marriage, they cannot be used to determine responsibility for work around the house, agreements about having or raising children or which last name a spouse will use.
In some cases, courts may strike certain elements of a prenup, but keep the rest of the agreement intact. In others, the court might void the entire document and ask you to create a new version.
Free Consultation with Divorce Lawyer in Utah
If you have a question about divorce law or if you need to start or defend against a divorce case in Utah call Ascent Law at (801) 676-5506. We will fight for you.
8833 S. Redwood Road, Suite C
West Jordan, Utah
84088 United States
Telephone: (801) 676-5506