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Joint or separate accounts: Address it in a prenuptial agreement

Disputes related to money are regarded to be one of the primary sources of contention in marriages. More and more Texas couples are recognizing the advantages of prenuptial agreements. With the assistance of an experienced family law attorney -- and even a mediator -- any Texas couple considering marriage can draw up a prenuptial agreement that will protect the interests of both parties.

Deciding whether to commingle income is often a tricky one. Some couples regard joint bank accounts as the natural thing to do after being joined in matrimony. Others may find it necessary to keep separate bank accounts for a variety reasons. These may include a spouse with children from a previous marriage and obligations to fulfill, or couples who just have completely opposite ways of handling finances. Individuals who marry later in life may want to maintain control over the assets that they have accumulated.

Typically, any assets brought into a marriage remain the property of the one who owned it prior to the marriage. Any increase in the value that takes place during the marriage and before separation may be regarded as community property. The premarital assets of each spouse will remain separate unless they are put into a joint account or otherwise commingled.

Some couples agree to open a joint bank account for household expenses and maintain separate accounts for other funds. When a Texas couple draws up a prenuptial agreement, they may address any issues of concern in the document. This may include matters such as joint or separate bank account, and directives for property division and spousal support should a divorce occur subsequently. Knowing that potentially contentious issues are addressed in a prenuptial agreement may provide peace of mind as the parties look forward to sharing a happy life together.

Source: post-gazette.com, "Sharing money can be tricky for couples", Tim Grant, April 17, 2015

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