Can a divorced spouse withdraw money from a still existing joint checking account?

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Can a divorced spouse withdraw money from a still existing joint checking account?

A friend from the US got divorced from her husband back in 2009. While they were married her husband opened a joint checking account in both their names. Her married name is still on the account; she now uses a different name. Can she still withdraw from this account?

Asked on April 20, 2011 under Family Law, Illinois

Answers:

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

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

I would not advise that she withdraw funds from the account.  I am fairly certain that she was aware of the account back in 2009 and that the funds that were in the account were subject to distribution in the divorce and were most likely addressed in the agreement.  Any funds that are now in the account would not be marital funds, as they were most likely deposited after 2009.  To be sure about this it would be best of she consulted with either the attorney who represented her in the divorce proceeding or someone else who can read the paperwork involved.  At this point if it were determined that the funds were not addressed and may be subject to marital distribution it would be the funds in the account before the date of divorce and not after, AND the proper method to obtain them would not be self help by withdrawing them.  She would need to ask for the court to determine the amount and order the distribution.


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