Whether you are listing all bank accounts on your financial statement, producing documents for the mandatory Rule 410 Disclosure or in response to a Request for Production of Documents, every account for which your name is on must be disclosed. Therefore, whether you may have a joint account with your parents or if you are listed on an account for an elderly family member out of convenience, every account must be disclosed. This also means that you must disclose every account with and for the benefit of your children.
If you do not regularly access the funds in these accounts, the judge might opt not to treat it as part of marital property. For example, as part of helping an elderly parent, you may have been added to his/her account so you can help pay bills. You may be a joint owner or trustee of a child’s account. If you are on these accounts for convenience, and these funds do not really belong to you, you should footnote that account with this explanation, so a judge can determine that these funds are not part of the marital estate or subject to division with your spouse. On the other hand, if you regularly use the account or the judge believes you added another person to your account in order to hide your assets, the account could be subject to division in a divorce.
It is important to note that disclosure and division are two separate matters. In other words, you must disclose all accounts even if they are not subject to division.
Massachusetts is an equitable division state, therefore, the court examines what is fair and equitable, but this does not necessarily yield a 50/50 split of every asset.
By: Christina Pashou, Esq.
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