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Asset prior marriage, Equitable Distribution and joint account

Waterbury, CT |

My mom just started her search for a lawyer and will want to file for divorce in a few months.

Prior to her getting remarried, my mom owned a house and sold it right before the wedding. The money from the house sold was put in a joint bank account between me and my mom with the intention that this will be the money I'll use to pay off med school and buy a house when I finish my medical school.

My mom told me that I should just withdraw the money and put it into my account (me only w/ her as a beneficiary) now since she will be filing for divorce in a few months. Is this a wise to do so? Would this make things more complicated? There has been some money put into the account since the marriage,. I am unsure if the banks keep track on who on the joint account deposit

For some reason this was listed under probate, can a moderator move this into divorce?

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Attorney answers 4


Your mom should consult with a divorce attorney before moving any assets. This will only complicate the divorce. It will be up to the court to decide whether this money is part of the marital community or not.

Please note that I am answering this question as a service through Avvo but not as your attorney and no attorney-client relationship is established by this posting. An attorney-client relationship can only be established through signing a Fee Agreement and paying the necessary advanced fees.


I agree with Attorney Reed that the marital character of this asset can be complicated and your mother will need to consult with a local divorce attorney. I have marked this question in the divorce category.

If this answer is helpful or you feel it is the best answer, please click that option. This response is for general informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. The writer is only licensed to practice law in TN. You should contact your attorney to obtain advice with respect to any particular issue or problem. Use of and access to this Web site or any of the answers by the named attorney do not create an attorney-client relationship between said attorney and the user or browser.



is marital character how each side paint the picture of each party member in the marriage? does the court take that into account (i.e. one married person haven't contribute any income to the household even though they work.. and/or "drama" like slandering someone's reputation at the workplace?

Gary Todd Dupler

Gary Todd Dupler


Attorney Rosenberg's response touches more on your comment. Generally, a person can contribute to a marriage in ways other than financial. Having a consultation with a local attorney could ease the minds of you and your mother.


When an application for divorce is filed in Connecticut, the judge issues standard orders which prevent the spouses from giving away assets.

As it stands right now, your mother hasn't filed for divorce. The assets in question are her individual assets and have never been held in conjunction with the spouse, there's nothing illegal per se about completing the gift to you.

However, family law in this area is resolved "in equity," which is a fancy way of saying the judge can do whatever seems fair. The court likely couldn't force you to return the money, but if your mom was able to sell the house because she was moving in with the house owned by her husband-to-be, and the marriage was fairly lengthy, the court could account for the gift by granting substantially all of the marital assets to your step-father, leaving your mother to live and provide housing out of her income, which may not serve her interests.

Because of this, she should really hire an attorney before making the gift. In any event, she will still be getting the advice she needs before the divorce action is filed, so there is no harm in speaking first to you.

Attorney Rosenberg is admitted to practice in Connecticut and Massachusetts, and currently practices in South-Central Connecticut with an emphasis on estate planning, elder law, probate, and tax matters. He may be contacted confidentially by email at or by phone at (203) 871-3830. All correspondence through this website appears publicly, is not confidential, and does not create an attorney-client relationship between you and Atty. Rosenberg. Discretion should always be employed when posting personal information online. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~ All online content provided by Atty. Rosenberg on this and other websites is provided for general informational purposes only, and does not constitute legal advice. All content is general in nature. Attorneys are unable to ask the questions necessary to fully understand the legal issues faced by any particular poster. Postings and responses to questions only provide general insights on the topic discussed. They are not tailored to any reader’s specific situation, will not be accurate in all states, and are never updated or maintained to reflect changes in the law. No person should take action based on the information provided by anyone on or any other law-themed website without first consulting a local attorney with significant experience in your area of concern. Persuant to Circular 230, no online content may be used by any person to avoid taxes or penalties under the Internal Revenue Code.



Thanks for this. If both my mom and my stepdad jointly brought the house together with both their incomes (which is the case), would the court still account for this gift?

Scott D Rosenberg

Scott D Rosenberg


As I said, the court will do whatever it thinks is fair. Assuming they married a bit later in life (no minor children together), if they came in with comparable assets they will generally divorce with comparable assets. If they came in with significantly different levels of assets, or if one had a windfall (lotto, inheritance, etc) during the marriage, the divorce tends to reflect that disparity but the longer the marriage has lasted the more the courts tend to equalize. Then there is the calcualtion of alimony, which is based on calculations of disparate earning potential and is a statutory rule. You really need to speak with an attorney who primarily focuses on divorces to know what to expect in your mother's situation.


First, automatic orders are in effect once the other party is served with papers, the Judge does not Order them. Therefore, as prior counsel stated, they are NOT in effect yet.

HOWEVER, when the divorce commences, and if the soon to be ex hires an attorney who then conducts discovery, any transfer of assets "in contemplation of divorce" can be considered a contempt. I have argued that many times and been successful many times. You cannot dissipate or transfer your assets when you know you are going to be divorced.

If your mom would like to speak with me, I have had several matters in Waterbury and would be happy to assist. Feel free to contact me at or call me at 203-377-4111 for a consultation, free of charge. Regards, Thomas McCabe

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