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How is a joint bank account divided in a divorce?

| Mar 23, 2021 | Property Division |

After you file for divorce, a joint bank account you share with your spouse is considered to be marital property by the courts in Wisconsin. Any funds in the account are considered to be shared and owned by both parties, even if one of the spouses made each deposit. Because the funds are shared, the money is typically divided during a divorce unless a pre- or post-nuptial agreement is in place. It can be illegal for one spouse to empty out the account without notifying the other party, which often leads to legal repercussions. A judge may also limit the access each spouse has to the account during the divorce proceedings.

How to protect yourself in a divorce

You can still protect your assets before filing for divorce by opening a new checking account that your spouse doesn’t have access to and is only in your name. Consider switching your direct deposit to a new account. Understand the law in advance to avoid doing anything illegal and avoid hiding any assets.

Take note of all the assets you own, and photograph or film everything to have proof. You may also want to change any beneficiaries on your life insurance policy and living trust to ensure your children or sibling receives your inheritance after you divorce.

Who can you contact for legal assistance?

If you plan to file for divorce, contact a divorce attorney who has experience handling similar cases and can inform you of your rights. The legal professional will guide you in the right direction with the necessary steps to take and can help you avoid common mistakes. You can also contact an attorney regarding matters related to child custody, alimony, and creating parenting plans.