How to Handle a Joint Bank Account in a Dallas, Texas Divorce

When two individuals are married, sharing a bank account seems like a good idea; after all, all of their money is going towards the same expenses, including housing, food, clothing, vehicles, and entertainment. However, when those same two individuals separate, all of “our money” becomes “my money,” and that joint account is suddenly not big enough to support the both of them. While Texas is a community property state, meaning that all assets acquired during marriage belong to both you and your spouse (Texas Family Code, Sec. 3.002), there are ways you can protect your assets and ensure that you do not walk away with thousands of dollars less than what you directly contributed.

Take Account of Your Finances Before You File for Divorce

People become different in the face of divorce, and they do things they never would have dreamt of doing otherwise. You often hear people comment on another’s divorce, saying things like, “If I get divorced, I would never try to take the kids away from their dad,” or, “If we ever get divorced, we are going to split our assets 50/50.” Yet, in the wake of that same individual’s or couple’s own divorce, all that sense of goodwill goes out the window. No longer does each party expect the other to “do the right thing,” and each develops the “it never hurts to be safe” mentality. A byproduct of that mentality is the tendency to make large withdrawals from the shared bank account and to squirrel away that cash into private bank accounts and investments.

If you share a bank account, investment account, credit card, or any other lines of credit with your spouse, and if you are thinking of filing for a divorce in Texas, take inventory of everything you share, and how much each of you directly contribute. If you make a withdrawal, take note of the beginning and remaining balance each time. Provide a copy of the receipt to your spouse as well, that way they cannot try to say that you were withdrawing excess funds. If you notice that large amounts of cash are being withdrawn frequently, try to freeze the account, or bring it to the attention of your Texas divorce lawyer right away. Unfortunately, if your spouse makes larges withdrawals under the guise of being “for the family,” you may not see that money ever again.

Splitting the Money

While it is important to take inventory of your accounts, that is only the first step in protecting your money. Next, try to reach an agreement with your spouse. There are several ways you can do this. For starters, one of you can agree to withdraw 50% of the funds, and leave the remaining 50% for the other. If your spouse does not agree to this, try to freeze all accounts and assets, and then have a bank representative act like a trustee when it comes time to distribute the money accordingly. Finally, if your divorce is an amicable one, and you and your spouse can agree on how much each should get, close the joint account and allocate the funds to your own separate, private accounts.

Consult a Dallas Divorce Lawyer

At the Clark Law Group, our divorce attorneys have experience in helping clients negotiate the fair division of assets during a divorce. If you and your spouse have a joint bank account or any other joint investment accounts, our family lawyers can help you protect your assets, determine the fair amount that each party should receive, and ensure that neither of you is treated unfairly in the process. To schedule a private consultation with our Dallas divorce lawyer, contact our family law firm at (469) 906-2266 or online today.

(image courtesy of Mark Graf)

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