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Divorce & Shared Bank Accounts: What Happens Now?


In just about every marriage in America, the two spouses decide to share one joint bank account that controls and holds the finances of their family. It is a convenient way to take some guesswork out of monthly budgeting, so it certainly has its advantages. But few married couples consider how disadvantageous and inconvenient a shared bank account becomes once the marriage comes to an end and divorce is on the horizon.

Consider these common questions and their answers if you share a bank account with a spouse who will soon be your ex:

  1. Is half of the finances in the account automatically mine?
    Maybe. If the account has been marital from the beginning, you should be able to access and keep half of the funds in the shared bank account. Some people prefer to withdraw their half immediately once a divorce is filed so their spouse cannot get start overspending while they still have their hands on their share. It is highly advised you speak to a divorce attorney beforehand to avoid any legal trouble, and always be thorough with withdrawal records.
  2. Will the joint bank account become frozen once I file for divorce?
    No, the account is not automatically affected by divorce. The bank is not concerned with family law disputes. If you want to lock down the account before anyone does anything to it, you will need to make that request with your bank or with the court, and usually with your spouse’s approval.
  3. Does any spouse have access to an adult child’s account funds?
    Is your spouse claiming that money they put into a child’s bank account is marital property and should be partially theirs to keep? If your child is a legal adult, the deposited money will be considered a gift and cannot be claimed by either spouse. Issues may arise if there is reason to suspect that money was transferred to your child’s account simply to hide it from the other spouse while the divorce proceeds.
  4. Is the money I had in my account before our married mine to keep?
    Keeping strict financial records of your personal and shared bank accounts can prove what are marital finances and what are separate. Any amount that was both in your own personal account and never accessed for marital purchases should remain separate and be exempt from property division.
  5. Do all bank accounts have to be disclosed?
    Divorces are much simpler when everyone remains honest. Hiding bank accounts from one another, even when a shared bank account exists, will only slow down the process and possibly led to legal trouble. Any and all bank accounts must be disclosed completely for the divorce court to analyze and divide accordingly.

For answers to additional questions about shared bank accounts during divorces, you can contact our Indianapolis divorce attorneys from Roberts Means Roncevic Kapela LLC Attorneys at Law. Since our firm’s establishment in 2004, we have become the go-to award-winning law firm in Indiana for people with family law disputes both simple and complex. Call 888.211.3888 to connect with our team.

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