The money in a couple's joint bank account belongs equally to each account holder. A divorce court doesn't have to divide it up that way, however, because the judge looks at the big picture. For example, one spouse could get all of a $10,000 joint bank account, while the other gets 100 percent of a different $10,000 asset.
The exact rules for how to divide up assets vary state to state. In some states, marital assets are divided 50-50, and in other states, judges have more flexibility depending on the circumstances. State law also determines whether one spouse can withdraw money from a joint account before or after filing the divorce. If one spouse needs the money to live on, it's important to check the law before trying to tap the account.
- Comstock/Stockbyte/Getty Images
- Which Is Better, a Savings Account or a Money Market Account?
- What Are the Advantages & Disadvantages of Holding Your Money in a Liquid Form?
- Money Market Account Vs. CDs
- Tips for Debit Card Users
- What Can You Do When a Business Takes Money Out of Your Account Without Authorization?
- Joint Checking Account Advice
- What Does Electronic Use Only Mean on a Debit Card?
- Paper Checks Vs. Electronic Checks
- Joint Ownership Bank Account Risks
- Advantages and Disadvantages of a Joint Bank Account With a Spouse