It is common for finances to be a stressor during a divorce. In many situations, former spouses struggle to pay bills as they adapt to being on their own again. Many recent divorcees understandably worry about a former spouse attempting to drain their joint bank account. There are some important things that you should know about joint bank accounts. As you are reading this article, you should also remember that if your spouse does attempt to withdraw money from a joint bank account without authorization, you should not hesitate to speak with a knowledgeable family law attorney.
What the Law Allows
By law, you are allowed to withdraw up to half of the money that is placed in a joint bank account before a divorce enters formal proceedings. If you decide to withdraw money prior to the filing of the divorce, you are permitted to by law. If you wait to withdraw from your joint bank account until after the divorce is filed, however, you will be prohibited from doing so. If you decide to entirely empty your joint savings account, there is a risk that the court will ask you to repay any money that you took out as well as to repay any interest that would have accrued.
The Reasons for Withdrawing Funds from Bank Accounts
While some spouses are capable of working through the divorce process amicably, others are not capable of doing so. In cases in which your spouse might have grown hostile after the divorce, it is often a wise idea to withdraw half of the money from your joint before your spouse is able to spend the money. As previously mentioned, make sure only to withdraw half of the money rather than the entire amount. In some situations, it is also possible to freeze activity on your bank account by filing a restraining order or injunction. After these orders are placed, however, the spouse who requested the account to be freezed will also be unable to withdraw money from the account.
Steps to Create a Separate Bank Account
To create a separate bank account, there are several important steps that you should take, which include the following:
- Open a bank account only in your name.
- Transfer your half of the joint savings account to the new account.
- Keep records on what you spent the joint money on in case you are asked by the court
- Notify your spouse that you have created this new account
Contact a Family Law Attorney Today
If you believe that your spouse improperly withdrew from your joint bank account or have one of many other types of asset-related questions or problems, you should not hesitate to speak with an experienced lawyer. At Vayman & Teitelbaum P.C., we have helped numerous families respond to the difficulties that arise during divorce. Contact our law office today and during a free initial case evaluation, we will discuss the various options that are available in your situation.