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Joint accounts and divorce proceedings

A recent assessment of divorce laws and proceedings in Connecticut and other states revealed that women whose divorces will leave them without a reliable source of income may need to take precautions in advance. Many women who plan on filing for divorce find that their lack of knowledge about their own finances leaves them highly susceptible to financial misdoings committed by their spouses. As such, more and more women are taking the additional step of setting money aside for themselves before they split.

Legal experts in a number of states note that self-preserving financial moves like taking 50 percent of the money from a joint account are often prohibited once divorce proceedings have been initiated. Many courts enact Automatic Temporary Restraining Orders on shared property the instant divorce paperwork has been filed, making it impossible for either party to touch these funds. Attorneys caution that these transfers are ideally made before any formal proceedings take place.

Removing money from a joint fund may be a necessity for women who don't have their own independent income coming in, but some attorneys say that such withdrawals need to be approached cautiously. If changes are made to joint funds without discussing the matter beforehand, it may increase the likelihood of a divorce that was previously uncertain.

High-asset divorce proceedings can be financially complex for those who simply hope that things will somehow work out without actually having a proper plan. The process of dividing shared assets and reaching amicable agreements is often severely hindered by negative emotions and associated stress. An attorney with experience in divorce law may be able to provide advice and counsel to a spouse involved in a divorce proceeding. Such an attorney may be able to help negotiate agreements for the division of assets and other matters.

Source: Forbes, "Divorcing Women: When Can You Withdraw Funds From Joint Accounts?", Jeff Landers, September 17, 2013

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