Can a husband legally deny his wife access to all bank accountsand credit cards?

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Can a husband legally deny his wife access to all bank accountsand credit cards?

I have been married 24 years andmy husband still gives me grocery money when he cashes his paycheck but says he still isn’t ready to allow me to have any access to “his” money. Am I entitled to any access to any accounts ( they are all in his name)?

Asked on September 11, 2011 under Family Law, New York

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Ma'am, you have the patience of a Saint to wait this long to ask this question.  The simple answer here is no, he can not.  Money earned during the marriage is marital property.  His money is your money and vice versa.  It does not matter that the account has only his name on it to be considered marital property but it will be a problem if he drops dead and it is not listed as a joint account.  It will be frozen and you will have to be appointed as the personal representative of the estate to get it out.   As for the credit card, they were opened based upon his employment correct?  So unless he ads you to the account or you open one up jointly those are not yours.  Listen, if he is not ready after 24 years then I fear he will never be ready.  So if he will not take you to the bank and add you on the accounts then consider taking him to an attorney to read the riot act.  Good luck.  

MD, Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

You are indeed entitled to access to all of his accounts, because those accounts are also by marital asset definitions partially yours. So, your husband cannot give you grocery money in this day and age and think this will be allowed. If you are considering divorce, think of it in these terms: he could be held liable for hiding assets from you. What I would do is to do some research and find out all of the accounts and any properties in his name. If you intend on staying married, make sure you approach him about transferring properties, savings, accounts and insurance policies and retirement accounts into joint accounts or named jointly or as you as beneficiary.


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