This is only hypothetical: If a couple is married, and there is no prenuptial agreement, all the money of said couple is equally theirs, correct? So, how can either one afford a lawyer to file for divorce? Is there some kind of crazy power grab for control of all the monetary resources, or what? I mean, I cannot imagine this being handled via an amicable arrangement. I am merely curious, that’s all.
The marital assets are used to pay both lawyers.
Ok, but is this agreed upon from square one? (Seems too simple when a couple is no longer in love.)
In my case, it’s an amicable split. We’ve already decided who gets what. We’ll go to an agreed upon attorney who will file the paperwork for us. Done… hopefully soon.
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It’s not a matter of agreement, it’s what’s required. Until the divorce is settled, both spouses are equally entitled to use any marital assets, including paying for their lawyers. If you try to hide marital assets so your spouse can’t access them during the divorce, the judge will be very angry.
I suppose one spouse could use non-marital assets to pay for their own attorney if they have some and wanted to do it that way. Even so, the judge may order that they contribute something towards the other spouse’s expenses.
Exactly so. My niece’s ex-husband (a true asshat) tried to do exactly that. She wasn’t even seeking any sort of alimony (she just wanted out, and he made a lot more than she did), and his attempts to hide assets pissed the judge off so much that he (the judge) offered to give my niece an alimony, just because he was so fed up with her ex. He gave the ex thirty days to pony up the full settlement, with a threat of contempt if he failed to do so.
I thought a bank account or other source of income could be frozen with permission (for example, a person has reason to believe that their STBX will empty it and leave them penniless, and block the STBX from accessing it). The key words here are, of course, “with permission”.
If it’s a joint bank account, then permission of both spouses may be necessary to freeze it. If the account is in only one person’s name, it may still actually be a marital asset, in which case the other spouse can get a court order saying the funds in it are not to be moved except under court supervision.
In any case, angry spouses have attempted to hide assets during divorce for centuries; the courts are well aware of every scheme in the book, and there are fairly straightforward processes and penalties to deal with them.
Divorce doesn’t have to be any kind of fight; separate lawyers may not even need to be involved. Many locations have procedures for no-fault divorce where the paperwork is simple enough to fill it yourself.
And depending on location, the default regime can actually be separate ownership (can’t remember what it’s called in English), where each person’s earnings are their own and large items such as the house or cars would belong to both only if both names are on the deed.
This is not necessarily true. Only the income generated during the marriage and the assets acquired through that income are equally theirs. Any assets that the individuals brought into the marriage are generally theirs alone, not joint assets. This is true even if there isn’t a pre-nuptial agreement.
I think that in many locations where joint property is the default, inheritances are also individually owned.
The rule I’ve heard on inheritances is that if it stays in the name of one spouse, it is not considered joint property in a divorce. So if the wife gets $1M and puts it in an account in her name only, it is considered her asset and would not be split. But if she deposits the money in the joint account, then it is a shared asset and would be split in a divorce. Of course, different states may handle things differently so that may not be true everywhere.
It would work just fine if they sat down and honestly and fairly worked out an agreement that would be fair to both parties. Then, they wouldn’t need lawyers at all. That could be said, in fact, for many civil disputes that really could be worked out the same way.
A friend does DomRel law and has a picture he keeps where clients can’t usually see it of a money bag on the left, one on the right, and a huge pile of bags in the middle. The one on the left is labeled “his” and the right “hers” ------ the center of course is labeled “lawyers”. Some people will go so deep into their lawyer that after everything is divided they get little more than the satisfaction of a win; broke but victorious. Not all divorces are bad; actually few are. But when they do get rough it can be total war where neither side really wins.
There are as many styles of divorce as there are people so there is no one answer. My ex-wife got a lawyer and it didn’t matter to me because we always kept separate finances. I didn’t have a lawyer at all.
I just wanted access to the kids and we worked out the house on our own. My girlfriend’s ex-husband has some kind of mental issue and takes her to court over even the smallest issue and details. That has happened many times even in the last couple of years. My ex-wife and I just talk a couple of times of week to figure out what works best.
I still go to holidays at my ex-wife’s family houses without any malice. Our marital relationship or lack thereof simply wasn’t working. There wasn’t any need to create a big drama out of it and her family still loves me.
And all the rules vary considerably by state or nation.
When my brother in law divorced, the inheritance he’d received during the marriage was considered joint property because they’d mingled those assets with their joint assets. Had he opened a separate account for the inheritance, it would have been his. But that was apparently a state thing.
When I divorced my ex the first thing I did was close all joint credit accounts or remove my name from them (which included closing them). We didn’t have a lot of money in checking or savings, I didn’t touch that and put all my income into my own solo checking account. I ended up responsible for some of his debts under the joint credit card, but didn’t incur anything new.
If they could do that, they may not even need to get divorced.
Shodan, Who is Not Divorced, Has No Pre-Nup, and If She Ever Wises Up and Dumps Me I am Doomed
The trick is making sure you have all the details figured out. There might be a lot of details.
If you have any sufficient assets to divide, then it’s probably better to spend a few thousand on a lawyer or two to make sure that you thought of all the possible contingencies, because it’s a lot worse to fight about something later because people made assumptions that aren’t compatible.
My ex used his credit card, and a new solo account to pay his lawyer. I didn’t use one.
And he kept what was left of his inheritance, even though it had been in a joint account. I didn’t care that much, and a good chunk had already been used to pay for my jaw surgery, so I never made a fuss or looked into it.