Finalizing Your Agreement: Property and Finances
Often, by the time the parties sign their final separation agreement they have already divvied up their bank accounts and other assets. In many cases, spouses will keep their finances separate throughout the entirety of their marriage.
Even if you have agreed that, for example, you’re each taking the accounts in your name without any other payments, your finances may be considered all or partly community property as defined by state law.* Now, the Judge will usually let you divide (or ascribe) your accounts however you want if you have a signed agreement (with some exceptions).
*(You can find more about what's considered "community property" by clicking here.)
So, what does this mean?
If you don’t account for ALL of your finances (including community, quasi-community, and separate property), it may lead to some problems.
The judgment doesn’t just include things that you’re dividing, it should include everything you have (including community AND separate property) so there’s no confusion in the future about whether something belongs to you. In fact, sometimes lenders and financial institutions will want you to show them that your STBX doesn’t have any claim to a particular thing (such as a retirement account, pension, property, or investments). If you don’t have this listed as community property that has been legally awarded to you in your judgment, you might have to get your STBX involved to confirm.