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Last Updated on: 13th October 2023, 02:11 am
Going through a divorce can be an incredibly difficult and emotional time. One of the many things you have to sort out is your finances – and what to do with any joint bank accounts you share with your soon-to-be ex. It’s a common question many people going through a divorce ask: can I take half the money out of our joint bank account?The short answer is – it depends. There are a few factors to consider, which we’ll break down in this article.
First, let‘s define what a joint bank account is. A joint bank account is a bank account that has two or more owners. Both account holders have equal rights to deposit, withdraw, and manage the money in the account.Joint bank accounts are commonly used by married couples, partners, roommates, or family members. The idea is that it allows both people access to the money to pay for shared expenses like rent, utilities, groceries, etc.
During a divorce, most courts will consider money in a joint bank account to be marital property that needs to be divided equitably between spouses as part of the divorce settlement.The general rule of thumb is that each spouse is entitled to 50% of the money in the joint account, regardless of who deposited more money into the account during the marriage.However, it gets tricky if one spouse empties or withdraws a large sum from the joint account without the other spouse‘s knowledge or consent. This unfortunately does happen during some divorces.If you discover your spouse withdrew a large amount of cash from your joint account, don’t panic. Here are a few things to keep in mind:
The bottom line is – talk to your attorney before you make any big money moves with joint accounts to understand how it could impact your divorce proceedings and settlement. Don‘t try to DIY this!
So back to the original question – can you just take half the money out of the joint account yourself in anticipation of divorce?The answer is maybe, but be very careful! Here are some important factors to consider:
If you have concerns over a joint bank account during a separation or divorce, there are a few things you can consider to protect yourself:
So how does the court actually divide up a joint bank account during divorce proceedings? Here are some key things to know:
Once the divorce is finalized and the joint account has been divided, it’s generally a good idea to close the joint account permanently.Here are some tips on how to close a joint bank account after divorce:
Closing the joint account is an important final step to financially separating from your former spouse. Having separate accounts going forward helps provide a fresh start.
For some divorced couples, keeping an existing joint account open temporarily may make sense, especially if you have kids. Here are some examples:
However, it‘s wise to limit the time period and amount of funds kept in a post-divorce joint account. Consult your attorney on any legal risks. Also set clear boundaries and expectations with your ex on how the account will be used.
As you can see, dividing joint bank accounts during divorce can get complicated quickly. Every situation is unique and brings its own set of financial challenges.It’s highly advisable to work closely with an experienced divorce attorney and financial advisor when navigating divorce and splitting marital assets like joint accounts. They can help you:
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