Divorce Settlement and Joint Accounts

Your separation has just occurred, and you have bills to pay.  You and your spouse used to pay living expenses through a joint account.  Is it okay to use this account now, during the separation period?

Every situation is different.  However, in general, it is okay to give your spouse notice that you are taking half of the money in your joint account to use towards paying living expenses, such as making mortgage or car payments, paying utility bills, student loan payment, or other necessary expenditures.  

We would caution you, though, to keep a detailed ledger of your bills and payments during this time, in case the issue of your finances comes up later in court.  

Make sure everything you spend money on is legitimate, and steer clear of any frivolous spending. For instance, you would not want to take money from your joint account and go buy an expensive sports car, as this money could potentially lead to the court reducing your overall share of property in a settlement.

If you have questions, be sure to speak with one of our attorneys about your finances.  

H. Van Smith
Trusted Virginia Family Law Attorney Serving Richmond to Williamsburg