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Divorcing? Don’t make the mistake of emptying your accounts

During your divorce, you might want to make your move and clear out bank accounts or run up credit cards. You think that will really hurt your spouse, but you should know that it is more likely to hurt you.

It’s a sign of wanting control to clean out accounts. You’re taking away the other person’s financial stability, in some cases, and hoarding assets for yourself. Unfortunately, those assets may not all belong to you. If you clean out a bank account just before divorce, you’ll have access to the money. If you file, your accounts could be restricted by an Automatic Temporary Restraining Order, so that neither of you can make certain financial decisions once your divorce starts. That would make it hard, or impossible, for your spouse to take out any funds at all.

Of course, it is one thing if you really need that money to survive. It’s something totally different if you’re cleaning out your accounts just to be petty. It will be especially damaging if you send a message taunting, threatening or mocking your spouse because you’ve drained your accounts and left them with nothing.

How can you take the money you need without potentially getting into trouble with the court?

If you want to play it safe, it would be a better idea to take only what you need and no more than 50% of what is in the bank account. While you may eventually be entitled to more or less, taking only half shows that you were being reasonable, even though you had access to a higher amount. Similarly, if you need to buy items with a credit card, buying what you need, rather than going on a shopping spree for unnecessary items, will look better to the court.

You should know that using deceptive means to get an upper hand during divorce isn’t a great idea. The judges who work these cases have seen everything, and they could catch on to what you’re doing, too. It’s better to play it safe and to work with your attorney before the divorce to decide what you can or cannot take from your accounts before you file. Doing that will put you in a better position and make you look reasonable, so that your case is not hurt by what you have done. Divorces are hard, but maintaining a positive reputation will be helpful.