You might worry about your bank account as soon as you begin divorce proceedings. The state of Washington is one of several states that equally divide up marital property. This means that even if you deposited less than half of the money into a jointly owned account, you still have a 50% claim on those funds. Naturally, you do not want to lose any of your money.
The problem with a jointly owned account is that your spouse could access it and empty out the money. The good news is that there are ways to protect your account until a court finalizes your divorce.
Seek an injunction
The Motley Fool explains that you may ask a court to place an injunction that stops you and your spouse from taking specific actions with your marital finances. An injunction could order you and your spouse to not withdraw any money from your joint accounts until the settlement is complete.
An injunction also allows a court to legally penalize your spouse for taking marital funds. A judge could hold your spouse in criminal contempt for any violations of the injunction. In addition, a court may limit access to marital accounts to prevent withdrawals.
Freeze the account
Another option is to ask the bank to put a halt on any withdrawals on the account. While this may protect your money, taking this kind of action without legal authorization or the consent of your spouse might invite legal scrutiny. Spouses in this situation may investigate to figure out if an account freeze is a legally permissible option.
Even if your spouse manages to make off with all the money in the account, a judge could take action by ordering your spouse to repay your half of the money. Your spouse may also incur penalties.
With the variety of options available, you should have ways to protect your money so you will have it ready to help you build your post-marriage life.