When Can I Withdraw Funds From My Joint Bank Account During My Divorce?
When going through a divorce, one of the biggest concerns is the availability of money. Many individuals are concerned that their spouse may drain their joint bank account, or fail to pay the usual household expense, leaving the other spouse to attempt to account for the bills. Therefore, a common question that arises is when is it appropriate to withdraw funds from a joint bank account. This question is layered and should be discussed in depth with your Orlando Divorce Attorney on a case by case basis.
One of the first items to discuss is the classification of the bank account in question. In Florida, property is divided into marital and separate property. Marital property, generally defined, are any items acquired during the marriage. While separate property is of the type that a spouse obtained prior to marriage and kept separate. Marital property is subject to equitable distribution between the parties. Therefore, if your bank account is joint, or was opened during the marriage, has been commingled with separate and marital funds, or has been used to regularly pay marital expenses; it will be deemed as marital property and you and your spouse both have rights to the funds within this account.
If the account is marital property, you are likely entitled to 50% of it, although this is not the case in every divorce. This is why removing money from the account can become complicated, as you may take out more than you are entitled to in your final judgment of divorce. However, if you do need to remove money from the account, it is prudent to remove the money and keep a detailed and accurate accounting of how the money is used. With a detailed account record, you will be able to show the court, exactly what the money removed was used for such as household items, bills, and other necessities. However, if you remove money from a joint account and frivolously spend, you may face penalties before the court for dissipation of marital assets.
In contrast, if you are fearful that your spouse may drain the funds in your joint account, court action may be taken in an attempt to prevent such action. First, in many Florida jurisdictions, upon filing a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage, the court will return a Standing Family Law Pretrial Order. Generally, this order requires the parties to keep all property, present insurance, or housing arrangements status quo, until a court can make a ruling. Many of these pre trial orders, contain language specifically relating to joint bank accounts, prohibiting parties from withdrawing any funds other than to pay the regular household expenses as they come due. If there is no Standing Family Law Pretrial Order, your Orlando Divorce Attorney may file a Motion for Temporary Relief to be heard before the court to ensure financial payments are made by the spouse and even request temporary alimony if necessary.
Your Orlando Divorce Attorney will be able to provide guidance on the financial complexities of your situation and determine the best course of action, as well as file the necessary documents with the court to protect your financial security. Contact us today to discuss your unique divorce proceedings.
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