Divorce and Bank Accounts
By Henry F. Lewis on December 26, 2017
When a couple decides to get divorced, there are several issues to resolve. The most contentious usually center on the kids and the money.
Depending on your circumstances, you may be wondering if your spouse will be able to access bank accounts. Or, you may be wondering how joint accounts are treated and whether you still have access to funds.
Issues regarding divorce and bank accounts are important to understand, so you are clear on your financial rights. The divorce lawyers at Gardner & Lewis LLP in Oakland, CA know the rules and how to protect your assets.
Common Questions about Divorce and Bank Accounts
No one wants to find that a soon to be ex-spouse has cleaned out and closed joint checking and savings accounts. Having no money to live on creates unwanted stress and other problems.
Here are some of the most frequently asked questions about divorce and bank accounts:
- Can I take half of the balance out of the account? Generally speaking, you may make withdrawals, but be sure to document every withdrawal you make and how the funds were spent. While it may be permissible to make a withdrawal to pay for a marital debt, the same is not necessarily true if funds are used for luxury purchases.
- Can I close an account? It depends on the nature of the account and on the banking regulations governing the account. If the account is joint, it will be considered a marital asset and must be disclosed when the divorce case is filed. Disclosure of assets aids the court when making final distribution of assets.
- What happens to accounts I had before we got married? Any assets, including bank accounts, you had prior to marriage remain your separate property. This is true so long as you have not commingled funds, because if so, it is difficult to separate commingled funds from what belonged to you prior to the marriage.
Do I Have a Claim to Post-marital Bank Accounts?
Accounts that were not considered in the divorce are not part of the marital estate. Thus, the court has no authority to make decisions over assets that arise after the divorce is completed. If your spouse opens an account after your divorce, you do not have any basis to lay claim to the content. This is true even if the funds in the account are used to pay for joint debts that the court ordered be paid by your ex-spouse. If you believe your spouse has accounts that are not being disclosed, your best bet is to have an attorney file the proper paperwork to uncover hidden accounts and assets. This requires the use of a knowledgeable divorce attorney who can help with an investigation into your concerns.
Who to Call for Help
The attorneys at Gardner & Lewis LLP have experience uncovering assets and making sure bank accounts and other financial assets are distributed properly during divorce. We have success in obtaining maximum financial settlements for our clients, and ensuring our clients do not run afoul of any divorce law rules and procedures. Contact us online or call our office at (510) 451-4822.
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“The needs of your family are always at the forefront of our legal services. Whether through litigation or mediation, we believe that reaching a fair, efficient solution with minimal negative impact to your family is of the utmost importance.” Henry F. Lewis