How do I Handle a Joint Bank Account in a Divorce?

In the United States, close to half of all marriages end up in divorce. Luckily, skilled divorce lawyers, like Attorney Gage, exist to ease this confusing and time consuming procedure. For most, the problems caused are worsened by financial woes. Problems vary from protecting money they have or not having insufficient monies to tide themselves over during the pendency of a divorce.  Some think the only solution is to dive into family bank accounts, but this can bring up legal issues.

Under the common law, everything in a marriage is usually owned equally among spouses, which is why couples typically open joint bank accounts. Having a joint bank account allows either party to have access to the entire amount in said account during the marriage.

Once divorce is filed, things change in most states, including Massachusetts. Supplemental Probate and Family Court Rule 411 governs Massachusetts which states in pertinent part:

The following restraining order (which applies to Bank Accounts) shall remain in effect during the pendency of the action, unless it is modified by agreement of the parties or by further order of the court.

(1) Neither party shall sell, transfer, encumber, conceal, assign, remove or in any way dispose of any property, real or personal, belonging to or acquired by, either party, except: (a) as required for reasonable expenses of living; (b) in the ordinary and usual course of business; (c) in the ordinary and usual course of investing; (d) for payment of reasonable attorney’s fees and costs in connection with the action; (e) written agreement of both parties; or (f) by order of the court.

Once the summons for divorce is served, the divorce restraining order goes into effect limiting your options.

If you have any questions or would like to discuss with Attorney Gage your potential options as to joint bank accounts prior to filing a divorce, please set up a free consultation to discuss.

For a free consultation, contact Attorney Gage at 978-961-0093 or by filling out our contact form.

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