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Can you take money out of a joint account during a divorce?

Money can be tight during a divorce. Maybe you or your soon-to-be ex moved out of the marital home, and you are struggling to pay all the bills on your own. Or perhaps you are concerned about setting aside money for an attorney. You could also be worried that your former spouse will try to empty out your joint bank accounts.

Georgia is an equitable property division state. Your assets may not be divided down the middle, but divided by what the court deems equal. During equitable division, factors like income, each spouse's contribution and potential earning capacity are considered.

Each partner has the right to remove funds

Even though your property may not be divided completely 50/50, you should be entitled to half of the money in your joint bank accounts. With a joint bank account, each person listed on the account has the right to remove funds. That means you or your former partner could technically empty an account at any time.

Emptying your joint account is not recommended

However, emptying your joint account is not a wise move. The court could ask you to repay the money and even charge you interest on the money. It will also likely cause issues with your ex.

You may want to remove half of the funds

Most experts agree that removing half of the funds is not an issue for the court, but it may be for your ex. Before you do so, you could avoid drama by telling your former partner that you are taking the money. If you take the money without saying anything, he or she may view this as an act aggression. That could lead to a more contentious divorce process.

If you have serious concerns about your ex emptying your shared accounts, you may want to remove half of the money to protect your interests. This is particularly true if your joint account is your primary source of income.

The court may penalize you later, so whenever possible, err on the side of caution.

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