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How can I protect my joint bank account in divorce?

On Behalf of | Nov 21, 2022 | Family Law

Since married couples often share ownership of bank accounts, it is likely you will have to divide a jointly owned account with your spouse in your divorce settlement. However, your divorce could take a nasty turn if your spouse empties the account money first.

Some spouses and romantic partners have lived the nightmare of an ex running off with all the money from a shared bank account. Fortunately, Forbes explains some steps you may take to protect your bank money from a vindictive spouse.

Freeze the account

If you believe your divorce could turn sour, you might consider freezing your joint account so neither you nor your spouse can add to it or make withdrawals. The rules for freezing an account vary by financial institution, but generally, any owner of a shared account can contact a bank to request a freeze. You may need to send the bank a letter asking the institution to keep the account frozen until notified otherwise.

Consequences for emptying an account

Keep in mind that since you are a married person, the state of Illinois has jurisdiction to split your marital assets, which include accounts you and your spouse share. In the event your spouse drains one or more of your jointly owned accounts, a state court can hold your ex responsible, perhaps by imposing penalties or awarding you more assets in the final settlement.

A co-owned account is one example of a financial asset you may have to split in divorce. It is important to understand your rights so you come out of the divorce with the share of your marital property that you deserve.