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Can I empty My Bank Account Before Divorce?

It’s not enough that you’re about to go separate ways with your spouse. Now you have to deal with the harsh reality of divorce laws which involves dividing family property, including bank accounts. If you have a joint account, you likely wonder, can you empty your bank account before divorce?

While you may have personal reasons for thinking in that line, going ahead with it can cause more problems. Read on to discover what happens to your joint account before or during divorce.

How does Ontario handle joint bank account settlements before divorce?

Having a joint account means either spouse can withdraw funds from it at any time, which can cause family law issues for separating spouses. 

The divorce law in Ontario emphasizes that a joint bank account is a marital asset, allowing either or both spouses to conduct transactions on behalf of the family. Should they decide to divorce, a divorce lawyer will take the joint bank account into consideration when assessing who owes who what.

What to do if your spouse withdraws money from your joint account before divorce

You should avoid “cleaning out” your joint savings account without your spouse’s approval before divorce. Here is what to do:

1. Come to an agreement with your spouse

Typically, banks or credit unions do not allow you to remove your spouse’s name from your joint bank account without them knowing. You should strive to come to a mutual agreement on how to divide the assets before divorce.

2. Contact a divorce lawyer

If you and your spouse aren’t on talking terms, it’s best to seek assistance from a divorce lawyer, and even if you are on speaking terms you should still contact a divorce lawyer! This helps you know how the law treats marital assets before, during, and after divorce. 

Ask Our Ontario Divorce Lawyers Today!

Most Ottawa Family Lawyers understand the pain that comes with divorce, particularly where marital assets are involved. Whether you’ve already filed for divorce or are planning to, the team is ready to walk you through the journey and ensure you don’t help avoid bad decisions, or fix mistakes that have already occurred, such as one spouse emptying the joint account without the other spouses’ consent.

If you have any questions regarding joint accounts before divorce or need legal representation, don’t hesitate to contact an experienced divorce lawyer at RPB Family Law immediately.