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Lucy, Esq.
Lucy, Esq., Lawyer
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 28505
Experience:  Attorney with experience in family law.
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I've been married years and I'm 48 years old. My husband is

Customer Question

I've been married for 23 years and I'm 48 years old. My husband is 50. We have 2 sons, age 13 and 14. I haven't worked for 9 months but previous to that worked 26 years. Two weeks ago I went back to work fulltime. We've had a joint bank account for 23 years but in the last 3 months he opened up a checking account at the credit union at work and is having his entire paycheck deposited into this account. My name is ***** ***** this account nor do I have access to checks or a debit card. We have very little money in our joint account until I start getting paid and he gives me cash when I need money. I am very upset and concerned over this. He says he did this because he wants control over our finances but if he were to die suddenly, like my brother recently did, I would have no access to the funds to feed my children,pay our bills, and keep our life going. Do I have any legal rights or am I going to need to take legal action to protect my children from a possible disaster?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  Lucy, Esq. replied 1 year ago.

My name is ***** ***** I'd be happy to answer your questions today. I'm sorry to hear about your situation.
There unfortunately are no laws regarding how a couple must manage their finances while married. There isn't any way to force him to use the joint account. You can, however, open your own separate account and put your own earnings into it, get a debit card, and have some access to funds that way. The only way to enforce your right to a share of the marital earnings, I'm sorry to say, is to file for divorce or legal separation.
To file for divorce, the couple must first be separated for one year, so that may not be possible at this point.
Should your husband pass away you would be able to use a copy of the death certificate to access his bank accounts, although it could be more complicated if he has a will. You can also ask him to list you as a beneficiary or POD on the accounts to make things easier. The only other option is to try to get him to understand the precarious position he's putting you and the children in.
It's important that you are 100% satisfied with my courtesy and professionalism. Thank you.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thank you. One last item. We have a will but it's pretty generic. Since my name is ***** ***** his credit union account would the death certificate be enough for the bank to allow me to access the funds? In the case of my brother since he didn't have a will or a wife or kids his bank account was frozen but my sister was appointed as the personal rep. I don't see why he wouldn't list me as the beneficiary, makes sense.
Expert:  Lucy, Esq. replied 1 year ago.
Even if you were listed as the beneficiary, you'd need the death certificate. It can just be easier, depending on the bank, to get the money when you're listed.
The bank may want to see something from a court appointing you executor of his estate or administrator of the will before they would release funds to you, even with a death certificate. Being listed as a beneficiary or "payable on death" avoids that problem.

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