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Dividing Investment Accounts and Bank Accounts in Divorce

Divorce Attorneys Representing Residents of Dallas and Beyond

One of the most difficult aspects of divorce is determining whether an asset belongs to one or both parties. While Texas is a community property state, which means that any property obtained during a marriage presumably belongs to both parties, when community and separate property is combined it can be difficult to determine how the property should be divided. For example, it is common for married couples to share bank accounts and investment accounts, which may contain money earned prior to the marriage and money earned during the marriage. If you intend to dissolve your marriage and anticipate that you will be dividing investment accounts and bank accounts in your divorce, we can help you protect your right to an equitable share of the community property at issue in your case. At McClure Law Group, our seasoned Dallas divorce lawyers have the knowledge and experience needed to help you pursue proper evaluation and disbursement of your marital assets.

Determining the Nature of Investment and Bank Accounts

Bank accounts and investment accounts may be in one or both spouses’ names. Whether both spouses names are on the account is irrelevant for purposes of determining whether the account is community or separate property, however. Rather, the character of money in an account is determined by how and when the parties obtained the money. Most income earned during the marriage and deposited into either a bank account or investment account constitutes community property unless the parties have previously stipulated otherwise.

If an account only contains earned income, it will likely be easy to prove it is community property. Difficulties in defining the character of money in an account can arise when separate property is commingled with community property. For example, if either spouse opened an account before the marriage, any money in the account at the time of the marriage would constitute separate property, but any money added to the account after marriage may be community property. Any interest earned on separate property during the marriage is likely community property as well. Determining which portion of an account is community versus separate property can be a complex process, and may require the retention of a financial expert.

Dividing Investment Accounts and Bank Accounts in Divorce

In cases where a divorce is amicable, the parties may wish to close any joint investment or bank accounts and divide the assets as they see fit prior to the finalization of the divorce. While this may seem like a good idea, it may result in one of the parties receiving less than an equitable share of the assets. If the parties have investment accounts subject to division in the divorce, it is important for them to consider whether there are any tax implications for the division of the accounts. To ensure a bank account or investment account is properly evaluated and equitably distributed, it essential to obtain documentation of any money deposited into or withdrawn from any account throughout the marriage, as well as documentation of any fluctuation in the value of the account.

Protecting Assets in Bank Accounts and Investment Accounts During Divorce

In some cases where a divorce is particularly acrimonious, or a large amount of money is at stake, it may become necessary to obtain a temporary restraining order (TRO) preventing your estranged spouse from attempting to divest assets. A TRO will effectively freeze the account so that neither party can close the account or drain money from the account in an attempt to prevent his or her spouse from receiving a fair share of the assets. You can request a TRO when you file your divorce petition or at any time before the finalization of the divorce. A judge can sign a TRO without a hearing, after which it will generally be in effect for fourteen days. The judge will then schedule a hearing, during which he or she will determine whether to grant an injunction to further restrict either party from transferring any assets until the divorce is final. A skilled divorce lawyer can represent you in these proceedings.

Some Texas counties, including Dallas, provide Standing Orders that must be attached to every divorce petition. The Dallas County Standing Order, like a TRO, prevents either party from intentionally transferring or reducing the value of any community property. While TROs and Standing Orders prevent either party from inappropriately diverting funds, they do allow for both parties to engage in spending necessary to go about their daily lives.

Meet With a Knowledgeable Divorce Lawyer in the Dallas Area

Texas law entitles each spouse to an equitable share of community property, which includes any earned income and interest on the income during the marriage. If you and your spouse will be dividing investment accounts and bank accounts during divorce, an experienced marital dissolution attorney can assess any accounts that may contain community property. At McClure Law Group, we are well-versed in the Texas laws regarding the division of assets in marriage and will work diligently to help you seek your fair share of any community property, including real estate and business assets. We represent individuals in other cities in Dallas, Grayson, Collin, Denton, Tarrant, and Rockwall Counties as well. Set up a consultation by contacting us at 214.692.8200 or via our online form.

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