Should I Empty the Joint Bank Account in Anticipation of a Minnesota Divorce?
Emptying the joint bank checking or savings account in anticipation of divorce would ordinarily be frowned upon, unless you had a very justifiable reason. Be warned, however, that your spouse may beat you to it. I’ve seen joint bank accounts cleaned out by the other party many times, and many times there is unapproved spending by the other spouse as the divorce approaches. Although this can be accounted-for and compensated-for in the divorce property settlement, it can still cause great difficulty if you need the money during the pendency of the proceedings and have to litigate to get any of it back. So what to do? All things being equal, I generally recommend taking half of the joint account money and depositing it into an individual account. If you trust your spouse enough to keep your accounts joint while the divorce proceeds, I respect that, but don’t say you weren’t warned. On a related note, it is a useful precaution to close or otherwise terminate additional borrowing authority on any joint credit cards, lines of credit, or other joint debt accounts, when a divorce appears imminent. With respect to joint credit cards and other joint unsecured consumer lines of credit, Minnesota law requires the creditor to close the account upon the written request of either party.  Footnotes: 1. Minnesota Statute section 519.05(b).