Cleaning Out the Bank Accounts, Maxing Out the Credit Cards

Divorce is clearly a very emotionally difficult and stressful time.  One of the major contributing factors to the level of stress that you may be feeling in your divorce is the fact that divorce typically puts significant strain on the parties’ finances.  Divorce or even just a separation will mean that you and your spouse will have to restructure how you handle the division of necessary bills and expenses.  Bank accounts and credit cards will need to be divided.  Parties may run into difficulty, however, if one of the spouses has cleaned out the bank accounts or maxed out the credit cards. credit cards

Minnesota is an equitable distribution state.  This means that in a divorce, the judge will make an equitable distribution of the parties’ marital assets and debts.  The judge will look to a list of factors in the Minnesota statute to decide how the marital property and debt will be divided.  It is important to note that the fact that only spouse’s name is associated with an asset or account will not mean that it is separate property.  In general, assets and debts acquired during the marriage are marital property and therefore subject to division.  It is also important to note that just because only one of the spouses generated income, this will not mean that only that spouse has a claim to those funds.  Accordingly, if that spouse decides to take all of the money in a joint account and put the funds in an account not accessible to the other spouse, it is very likely that the judge will order at least a portion of the funds be returned.

Credit cards are also a common bone of contention in divorce.  It is not unusual for spouses to disagree about spending habits, with one being “a spender” and the other “a saver.”   Like with assets, credit card debt acquired during the marriage is likely to be considered marital debt and subject to division regardless of whose name is on the card.  However, if one of the spouses spends frivolously on unusual purchases and maxes out the credit cards right before divorce simply to spite their soon to be former spouse, a judge could decide to make that spouse responsible for all of those charges.

There are many important financial issues involved in divorce.  Call us today at (651) 371-9117 and talk to us about your divorce and how we can help you find solutions.