Divorce and Bank Accounts

When you are contemplating a divorce or fear your spouse may be doing so, it is very important to review and locate all bank accounts that are either in your name, your spouses name, or joint accounts. These accounts may be savings or checking. It matters not. What is of utmost importance is that once an action for divorce is started, there is an automatic stay imposed on all marital assets and they cannot be used except in the "normal course of business" which would include, the payment of current bills and expenses, and the payment of attorney fees. If there are large bills outstanding that you would prefer to discharge before the stay is imposed, the payment must be made before the summons for divorce is filed.

Another important consideration is the contents of joint accounts. It would be wise to separate a joint account and place fifty percent in each spouses name in order to have control of these funds while the litigation is pending. If you fail to withdraw your fifty percent share, you may well find that the account has been completely withdrawn by your spouse without your knowledge, and certainly without your consent. It would be most unwise to withdraw the entire account because in the eyes of the judge who will hear your case he will feel that you have overreached and may prejudice him against you through out the entire case.