Can my husband keep money from me?

Unfortunately, sometimes we need to ask the question, “Can my husband keep money from me?”

There is no simple answer, because every situation is different and laws can vary from state to state. You’ve tried to work together on your finances, but nothing seems to help.

However, there is hope!

Regardless, today’s article might provide you with some guidelines to consider during a divorce or separation. Hopefully, this article can provide you with the resources you need during a marital dispute.

Can my husband keep money from me

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Can my husband keep money from me?

Generally speaking, your husband can withhold money that is considered his earned income. Control of money your spouse has earned is not a legal right of marriage. However, a court order may require your husband to share funds once the legal process has started.

Therefore, your husband may spend or withhold money as he chooses if he earned it and no legal action has been taken.

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Are bank accounts considered marital property?

Most often, bank accounts used by both parties are considered marital property. Assets will often be split evenly, unless a case is made that one person spends too much money wastefully.

It doesn’t matter who’s name is on the account if you both used the account. If your husband owns the account, but you both deposit money then commingling has occurred. Therefore, the bank account can be said to be owned by both parties.

The bank account can still be split evenly if your spouse owned the lions share of money in the bank account before you were added. If you used the account then you may be entitled to the money.

However, detailed records or bank statements may provide a paper trail. A paper trail detailed enough may provide your lawyer with enough evidence to state who owns what portion of the cash. Gather as much of the paper trail as you can to help.

Can my husband block me or freeze our joint account?

Technically, no. Your husband cannot block or freeze your joint account. However, your bank or financial institution may have a provision in their terms of service. To verify, call your bank and ask.

What happens if your husband blocks your joint account? Let your lawyer know immediately.

How do I protect myself financially from my spouse?

You should always consult a lawyer for advice, but here are some steps you should consider to protect yourself financially. Remember, ask your lawyer first before doing anything. The last thing you want to do is give your spouse additional ammo for a lawsuit.

  1. Open your own bank account. Your own bank account will allow you to start piling cash that your husband doesn’t have access to. Make sure you change your direct deposits to your bank account. Stop adding money to your joint bank accounts.
  2. Open your own investment accounts. Again, just like your bank account, stop feeding your joint investment accounts.
  3. Close joint credit cards. Divorce can do crazy things to people, including excessive spending and destroying credit. Get your own credit cards before your credit is dragged through the mud.
  4. Open a PO box. You don’t want sensitive financial data or legal notices being sent to your spouse.
  5. Copy your financial data. From bank statements to mortgage payments, it’s a good idea to have a paper trail of financial transactions. A financial paper trail can help prove who earned what money and where it was used to prove ownership.
  6. Change passwords. Make sure you change your social media and email passwords. Even if you suspect your husband might know them.
  7. Seek Alimony and/or Child Support. Alimony is court ordered income to a spouse when the spouse had a low-income or was generally supported by the main earner.

Common financial advice that I don’t recommend, especially without a lawyer involved, is withdrawing all funds from shared bank and investment accounts. While I can see you wanting control over the finances, such movements can be seen as theft and work against you in court. It’s best to let the court decide where joint money should be moved.

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Summary: Can my husband keep money from me?

During marriage, your husband keep his own earned income from you. There is nothing illegal about how your husband spends the money he earns.

That being said, the situation may not be as black and white. A court order may require your husband to pay you money as part of a separation.

You also need to understand the concept of commingling. Bank or investment accounts in which you both used may be required to split 50/50. Only accounts that can be proven as “untouched” by your spouse may stay with you.

The best thing you can do to protect yourself financially is gather your financial paper trail. Print as many bank records and mortgage statements as you can. Providing your lawyer with as much of the paper trail as possible can only work toward your favor.

It’s important for you to start the process of separation as soon as possible. Separation marks a date which you have split from your husband without the legal process of divorce. Consider moving out, opening up separate accounts, change your passwords, etc. Remember, do not add your spouse to your new accounts.

Always consult your lawyer before making any moves. I strongly recommend avoiding the urge to withdraw all money from your joint accounts. You need to be on your best behavior so that your spouses attorneys don’t have more ammunition.

John is the founder of TightFist Finance and an expert in the field of personal finance. John has studied personal finance for over 10 years and has used his knowledge to pay down debt, grow his investment portfolio, and launch a financial based business. He is committed to sharing content related to personal finance based on his experience in his career, investing, and path towards reaching financial independence.