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New York divorce: Is a secret bank account a good idea?

Whether it's because one spouse is the main breadwinner or happens to better at budgeting, one person in a marriage tends to be the keeper of the finances. Most everyone in New York knows that money issues are often a point of contention when a couple is facing the end of their marriage. Divorce can be difficult enough, but for the spouse that isn't the main breadwinner or the keeper of the budget it can be even more difficult.

There are people across the country, including some in New York, that decide to open a separate bank account in order to have their own money in case something happens. The account could be funded with assets acquired prior to the marriage. If funds that were acquired during the marriage are put into that account, ownership of that account could become complicated in the event of a divorce since that account could be considered marital property. The spouse with the account could possibly hurt their credibility in court and be accused of hiding assets. No matter what, the decision to keep an account secret is one that will need to be carefully considered by each person.

Knowing the ins and outs of the family finances can be an invaluable tool should the marriage end. There are too many people who don't take an interest in the family finances and end up being taken advantage of in a divorce. If one spouse is contemplating a divorce, it could be beneficial to find out as much as possible about the family finances before leaving.

Couples are required to disclose all of their financial accounts during the divorce process, including any account that was previously kept secret from the other spouse. Knowing about the family's financial situation ahead of time can help to ensure that both spouses are being open and honest about their financial situation. The consequences of not knowing could be financially debilitating.

Source: Forbes, "Pros And Cons Of Keeping A Secret Fund In Case You Divorce," Jeff Landers, Feb. 14, 2013