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Should you get a separate bank account before divorce?

You’re considering a divorce. You haven’t told your spouse yet, but it’s pretty obvious to both of you that the relationship is ending. One thing you’ve been thinking about is your financial position. You share a bank account with your spouse. Should you get a separate one before the divorce?

You may want to, depending on how you think this will play out. For instance, maybe your spouse is not going to be happy and they’re going to try to make it harder for you to access the marital funds on your own. If you have a separate bank account and/or a credit card in only your name, you don’t have to worry about being entirely cut off.

Plus, if you’re going to separate before the divorce is final, having your own account is a must. You can have your earnings sent there, and you can use the money to pay the bills, as your spouse may no longer be involved in that process.

All that said, remember that having a separate account doesn’t always mean that the money in it is separate property. It depends on when and how you earned that money. It may still count as marital property if you earned it before the split and then transferred it over, for instance, while it may be separate property if the two of you are no longer together and the money in the account was earned after the date of separation — even if that’s before the date of the divorce.