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Joint Bank Accounts and Divorces


How Are Bank Accounts Handled During Divorce in Texas?

Many married couples opt to hold their money in joint accounts, giving each spouse equal access to funds they can use for paying utility bills, making mortgage payments, and buying groceries, among others. Some couples also keep most of their earnings in a joint bank account but have separate bank accounts for retirement funds and personal savings.

Because each divorce case will vastly differ from one another, handling bank accounts during a divorce will also be different from one couple to another.

Is the Bank Account Separate or Community Property?

Bank accounts and various investment accounts may be held in both or one spouse’s name. But which spouse’s name is on the bank account is irrelevant when determining whether it’s separate or community property. Rather, the nature of the money in the bank account can be determined by when and how the spouses got the money.

Keep in mind that Texas follows the community property rules when dividing property in a divorce. This means that most income the spouses earned and deposited while they were married into a bank account will be considered community property and subject to division. If the account only holds earned income, it may be easier to prove that it’s community property.

On the other hand, difficulties in determining the nature of the money in the bank account can arise if the spouses commingled separate property with community property. For instance, if either spouse has a bank account before marrying, the money in that account would be considered separate property. However, any money deposited to that account after they married might be considered community property. Likewise, interest earned during the marriage on the separate property might be deemed community property.

This is due to commingling assets, which occur when assets are utilized by both spouses. For instance, even if the marital home is under the name of only one spouse, that property is a commingled asset since both spouses live in it. The same rule applies to bank accounts and money.

Even if the bank account is held under only one spouse’s name, but both spouses use the funds from that account, the spouses can argue that the money is commingled and must be divided or stay separate, depending on the circumstances.

To make sure that your and your spouse’s bank accounts are all accurately evaluated and fairly divided in a divorce, you must gather documentation of the money withdrawn from or deposited into the bank accounts throughout your marriage. It’s also best to collect documentation of fluctuation in the account’s value if applicable.

Discuss Your Case With a San Antonio Divorce Lawyer Now

Divorce usually fuels various emotions, whether good or bad, and dividing property may be particularly contentious for some couples. If you’re planning to file for divorce or going through one and aren’t sure how to handle property division, please reach out to the San Antonio divorce lawyer of Hoelscher Gebbia Cepeda PLLC.

With guidance from our San Antonio divorce lawyer, you can understand your legal rights and options. Call our office at 210-222-9132 or fill out our online form to schedule your case review today.