Divorcing and Joint Accounts

If your finances are tied up in a joint account, then you may be worried about how to access them in the midst of a divorce. According to Forbes Magazine, in many marriages, the husband controls family finances and earns a larger portion of the income than the wife. This can lead to complications as women try to individualize their funds to pay for a divorce attorney or other costs throughout the divorce process.

Many women pour their money into a joint account, so they are not certain about their exact income or how it is invested. They may not even know how much of their income is accessible and what types of accounts they own. Because both husband and wife have access to the finances, a husband could potentially clean out the bank account

To avoid the cleaning out of a bank account, the courts will often create an Automatic Temporary Restraining Order (ATRO). These are court orders prohibiting a spouse from making certain financial changes once a divorce action begins. Sometimes, the accounts will be somewhat frozen, making it unable for you or your spouse to withdraw any money from the account.

You will want to plan ahead for your immediate financial needs to make sure that your income isn't locked into one of these joint accounts. The best way to do this is to withdraw a large sum of money before filing for divorce and then save it for your own needs in the future. Normally, it is wise to only withdraw up to half of what is in the joint account. That way you can argue that you never dipped into your spouse's half of the finances should complications arise.

If you want more information about divorce and joint accounts, then talk to a Los Angeles family attorney at Claery & Hammond, LLPtoday!