If my wife has decided to file for divorce, are there any legal ramifications in changing bank accounts and beginning to separate finances before the divorce?

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If my wife has decided to file for divorce, are there any legal ramifications in changing bank accounts and beginning to separate finances before the divorce?

We are currently separated, and it does not look like that will change. We have 2 children and have, temporarily, worked out visitation on our own. Currently we share a bank account that both incomes go to via direct deposit.

Asked on November 15, 2012 under Family Law, Montana

Answers:

B.H.F., Member, Texas State Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

If you are dividing property, including accounts, by agreement, then the courts generally prefer it when spouses work together to resolve the division of property.  If one spouse completely empties a bank account and leaves the other spouse withouth anything to live on, then the courts can and have ordered partial returns of account balances.  The stripping of the martial account is not per se illegal, but the courts do frown on gaming between spouses.... which account stripping is. 

Your situation sounds like you are both receiving income and you are both in agreement with the division, so you should not have any legal or equitable issues with setting up new accounts and redirecting your own earnings. 


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