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Keeping Your Money Separate During Marriage

Marriage is a significant milestone in many people’s lives, but finances are an essential component of one. With that in mind, there has been a noticeable shift from people who wish to maintain financial independence during their marriage. Keeping separate bank accounts is becoming a topic of interest and discussion. 

Keeping money separate during the marriage has legal and personal implications. North Carolina, like many other states, follows specific legal guidelines when it comes to handling marital and separate property, making it crucial for individuals to know their rights and options. We published this blog for people who want to know how they can keep the money they made before marriage from becoming shared property. 

Understanding “My Money” vs. “Your Money” in Marriage 

The distinction between “my money” and “your money” takes on a legal dimension in marriage. In North Carolina, most property and income acquired during the marriage are deemed marital property, regardless of the name on the account. Consequently, in the event of a divorce, both parties have an equal claim to this property regardless if it is in” your account” or “theirs”.

However, exceptions exist for property owned before the marriage or acquired through gifts or inheritance. This may remain the sole property of the individual. Despite these distinctions, the waters can become muddied when separate property and marital property are commingled. 

Commingling funds in marriage occurs when separate assets, such as those owned before the marriage or received as gifts or inheritances, are mixed with marital assets acquired during the marriage. Blending them can complicate the divorce process because it blurs the lines between individual and shared property. This could result in, what would have been separate property, being re-defined/labeled as marital property during a divorce, emphasizing the need for meticulous financial management.

In other situations, additional complexities may arise, when debts linked to illicit activities, such as gambling or drug habits, come into play. An experienced attorney is crucial to ensure that these debts are not shared

Safeguarding Your Financial Independence and Navigating Exceptions 

Safeguarding your financial independence often involves the creation of a prenuptial agreement. A prenuptial agreement is a legal document that defines which assets are separate and which are considered marital property. This preemptive measure is invaluable, ensuring that your separate assets remain protected, even in unexpected circumstances.

Engaging in open communication with your partner and consulting with seasoned family law attorneys is fundamental when drafting a comprehensive prenuptial agreement. This legal contract serves not only as a protective measure but also as a tool for fostering transparency and mutual understanding between spouses regarding their financial situation. By clearly identifying and documenting each party’s separate assets, a prenuptial agreement minimizes the potential for future disputes and complexities, ensuring a straightforward path to preserving your financial independence within the marriage.  

Easterling Law Can Help

At Easterling Law, we understand the intricacies of maintaining financial independence in marriage. Lindsey Easterling’s personal experience with her parents’ challenging divorce fuels her commitment to aiding families through these delicate situations, striving for solutions that prioritize the well-being of all involved, especially the children. 

Our firm caters specifically to couples who have surpassed the decade mark in their marriage and are now navigating the complexities of divorce, aiming to shield their children from the potential adversities of this transition. If you find yourself contemplating the merits of keeping your finances separate in marriage or need guidance regarding family law matters, Easterling Law stands ready to assist. We encourage you to schedule a consultation and let us meet you with understanding, care, and legal precision.