Millennial spouses are more likely to have separate bank accounts than couples from previous generations, according to a Bank of America survey. While some may think that separating finances will help protect property in case of a divorce, this is not always the case. Most assets earned after the wedding will be considered shared property.
A study by the American Association of Matrimonial Lawyers found that millennials are also more likely to have a prenuptial agreement. Some analysts agree that this is better protection in divorce than separate accounts. In addition, when couples create a prenuptial agreement, it sparks a discussion of their finances and their values around money.
However, for couples who do not want a prenuptial agreement, there are other ways to protect finances in a divorce. Separate accounts do allow for each individual spouse to have access to the money they need to fund a divorce and for other expenses. As for newly engaged couples, it can be wise to keep a printout of all the accounts and assets that each partner will bring into the marriage. People who receive inheritances may want to keep these funds separate from the shared finances. If inheritances are used for shared property, such as renovating a home, it might be considered commingled. This could then be treated as a marital asset.
An attorney can help a soon-to-be ex prepare for their financial situation after the divorce. Some people might struggle with their emotions and could fail to safeguard themselves financially. However, an attorney could help a client make a plan for going into negotiations or litigation. Not every divorce has to go to litigation, and one advantage of negotiation is that the couple may have more input into how property is divided.