When Should I Open a New Bank Account if I’m Getting a Divorce?

It’s not unusual for someone to open individual bank accounts prior to filing a lawsuit for divorce. Although this is financially practical, it can also create a false sense of security with the belief that this account is their own separate money. Under Louisiana law, it is important to always remember that living separate from your spouse, marital problems or opening accounts/titling assets in your own name does not terminate the community.

Although I do recommend that spouses open new bank accounts to protect their assets before a lawsuit divorce is filed, I also recommend that still another bank account be opened after the filing of the lawsuit for divorce. Bank accounts used during the marriage and bank accounts established after the marriage should not be commingled and mixed together. By mixing them together, a bank account can become community property.

At first glance, this looks technical and redundant; but establishing a new bank account after the filing of a lawsuit for divorce and not commingling it with other bank accounts can be very significant in the division of community property later.

It is important to remember bank accounts, along with income established and acquired during the marriage, are community property. Bank accounts established and money acquired after the lawsuit for divorce and deposited into that account is separate property.

If you pay a community debt with money from your community bank account, you get no reimbursement claim. If you pay a community debt from your separate bank account, you can get a credit of one half of the amount you paid from your spouse as part of the division of your community property later.

If you have any questions about divorce, you should consult an experienced divorce attorney.

-Kent S. DeJean

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