A Joint Bank Account Can Cause Divorcing Spouses Extra Concerns

Divorces have become increasingly common in American society. Nevertheless, the anxiety and stress over the process is ever present for those involved. Breaking up is hard, as someone once sang. There are lots of changes. Living situations and child custody arrangements are examples of things that differ after a marriage dissolution.

Even before the divorce is final, finances take center stage. Exactly what should be done with the money that both spouses have a legal right to possess is confusing. It is important to speak with a family lawyer who can help make the best decision given the situation.

To help people either in a divorce, or contemplating one, better understand their rights to a joint bank account, following are some important facts.

Married Couples and Joint Bank Accounts

While married, couples usually have joint bank accounts. Each spouse has a legal right to 50% of this common property. Before divorce proceedings begin, either spouse can withdraw their half of the money, at least in theory.

Financial Restraining Orders

When someone files for a divorce, the courts take finances seriously. A central goal is to prevent the hiding of funds. To control the money in joint accounts, judges usually issue an Automatic Temporary Restraining Order (ATRO), along with the summons notifying all parties of the divorce proceedings. The ATRO prevents the withdrawal of money from bank accounts until a judge can analyze the financial situation clearly.

Possible Ramifications of a Full 50% Withdrawal?

A full 50% withdrawal may sound like a wise decision, and a divorce attorney may suggest this course of action in some cases; however, there are some possible negative ramifications. For example, couples still have to pay joint taxes until the final divorce settlement. A cleared-out bank account can lead to one or the other spouses having to foot the bill.

Get Advice From a Divorce Lawyer

As evidenced here, joint bank accounts can create problems for divorcing couples. The law is a bit confusing for the uninitiated. Thus, it is wise to contact a competent family law divorce attorney as soon as a breakup seems inevitable.

This advice is especially important for anyone who believes that they may need funds from a joint account to pay for such important concerns as legal counsel, rent, food and medical expenses.

A family law attorney like Robert L. Flanagan may be able to work out an agreement on how to disburse funds from the joint account, notwithstanding the ATRO. Judges actually prefer this type of initiative as it helps create an air of reasonableness, which is not always found in divorce proceedings.