Having a joint bank account is pretty standard for most married couples in Alabama. But just because it is normal to have such an account does not necessarily mean that it is easy to deal with one during divorce. Understanding what a joint bank account is, how to divide it and what problems may arise can be key to successfully navigating this process.

If both spouse’s names are on a bank account, it is a joint account. As legal owners, both parties have the right to any number of actions regarding its funds, including both depositing and withdrawing funds. It does not matter whether one spouse deposited significantly more money into the account than the other, either. If it was deposited during the marriage, it typically belongs to both spouses equally.

Some couples choose to work together to close out these accounts early on during divorce, splitting the funds as they see fit. But one spouse might be hesitant to cut off his or her access to the funds, or maybe the couple is simply not on amicable enough terms to work on this process together. To protect those funds, it could be helpful to seek a restraining order against either party pulling all the money out of the account. Even if this does not prevent one spouse from draining an account, he or she could end up facing criminal consequences for doing so.

Financial security after divorce is not always a given. This is why it is so important to understand the entirety of one’s financial situation, including how much money is stored in joint bank accounts. Taking proactive steps to protect that money is usually a smart idea, as is taking the time to speak with an attorney who is familiar with the divorce process in Alabama.

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