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What happens with joint bank accounts during divorce?

The process of property division during a divorce has spouses separating all the belongings they have acquired during their marriage. For many married couples, this includes bank accounts. Most married spouses share joint savings and checking accounts, and understanding what happens to those accounts during and after divorce is extremely important information.

From the moment one spouse files for divorce, they may be restricted from withdrawing funds from their joint accounts. An automatic temporary restraining order may be put in effect through a court order, and may prohibit spouses from making financial changes until their divorce is final. For many divorcing spouses, these restrictions can significantly impact their ability to retain legal representation and pay for daily living expenses. Fortunately, there are certain steps spouses can take to secure a portion of their joint funds.

If the divorce petition has not been filed but is on the horizon, spouses may want to make a withdrawal of joint accounts in preparation. While every divorce is different, certain circumstances may dictate which accounts are drawn from and for how much. Generally speaking, divorcing spouses can withdraw half of an account's value. To keep things as civil as possible, spouses withdrawing funds may want to keep an adequate record of their expenses. Divorcing spouses are usually prohibited from incurring additional debt during divorce. The family court may be less likely to disagree with a withdrawal of funds if they are put toward living expenses or retaining an attorney.

If a divorce petition has been filed, and an automatic temporary restraining order has been put in effect, divorcing spouses may want to speak with an experienced divorce attorney about their ability to cover living expenses. With the help of an attorney, divorcing spouses may be able to request a portion of marital funds to use as income for the duration of the divorce.

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Victoria S. Linder Law Office
5303 Folsom Boulevard
Sacramento, CA 95819

Phone: 916-905-4805
Fax: 916-498-0127
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