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Costly divorce errors with premature property division

Though negotiations over property division in Kansas and around the country are often stressful, the nuts and bolts of dividing some assets are actually quite simple. One example of this is the joint bank account. Even though either spouse can close a joint account at any time, it is important to be prudent about such decisions prior to a divorce.

Separating the assets in an account before closing it can prevent misunderstandings by either partner or negative consequences in divorce court. The courts consider the totality of marital possessions before settling disputes over spousal support or property division. Any negotiations between the couple seeking a divorce are also best done with full disclosure.

Approaching the task together may prevent financial problems when closing an account as well. For instance, automatic withdrawals from a checking account must all be stopped prior to closing. Otherwise, this could result in extra fees charged by the bank, which will be the legal obligation of all individuals listed on the account. Care should likewise be taken to stop automatic deposits. These could result in the bank reopening the account and imposing associated fees.

Even if both parties participate, a possible outcome of closing an account before negotiations is that one partner could give away his or her non-marital assets. Money brought into the marriage or unearned gifts to one spouse may actually belong to only that person, and giving or taking such assets could cause problems later on. Both parties of a divorce may benefit from contacting an attorney experienced in practicing divorce law. Ideally, consultations with a professional can inform every stage of negotiations over property division and divorce proceedings.

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