Can a wife withdraw a large sum from a joint savings without husband being notified?

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Can a wife withdraw a large sum from a joint savings without husband being notified?

A relative of mine is in a abusive marriage and wants to leave. However, she doesn’t want her husband to know she is going to take the money out of their joint savings account to make the move while he is gone at work. Does she have legal rights to the money and would her husband be notified of the withdrawal?

Asked on August 18, 2016 under Family Law, Louisiana

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

1) It is a joint account: she can withdraw it. She has the same right to withdraw as him. When it's a joint account, its both persons account.
2) The bank does not have to notify him unless he's set up alerts on the account, such as to notified of any withdrawals or transactions over a certain amount. (Such alerts are a good idea; I have them on my business and personal accounts.) Then he will be notified the same way as he would be if some contractor or vendor to whom he'd given his banking information made a large withdrawal.
3) If she takes a lot of money now, she will then get less in the divorce; what she takes as she is leaving will be held against her in the divorce. For example (and to oversimplify), say she take $50k now; if otherwise, she'd be entitled to $250k in assets when they divorce, she'd only get another $200k, because she "helped herself" to $50k.


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