By Joshua E. Stern, Divorce and Family Law Attorney
Getting divorced is an emotional experience and tends to be stressful for everyone involved. Unfortunately, in some of the worst cases, this tension can lead to emotional or financial retribution.
Our team has seen cases where one spouse attempts to control their spouse’s spending by freezing or depleting their shared accounts. If your spouse has financially cut you off, you have legal rights. You are entitled to something called the “financial status quo”, and it is illegal—and financial abuse—for your spouse to keep marital funds from you.
What is the financial status quo?
Financial status quo refers to the standard of living that you and your spouse maintained during marriage. When you’re getting divorced, you have a right to this standard until your marriage is officially dissolved. Your basic expenses should be covered, and you should retain access to all shared accounts.
Neither spouse has the right to close or deplete any marital accounts, nor deny their spouse access to the marital estate in any way. Your right to financial status quo means that you do not have to drastically modify your standard of living just because your spouse wants to control your bank accounts.
What if my partner drained our bank accounts?
Unfortunately, our team does see this happen. In about 30% of cases, one spouse attempts to illegally control finances before a divorce is finalized. It tends to be motivated by power and control, and there is no scenario in which this is legal. Though people may think they can get away with it, there’s no loophole that would allow it.
If your spouse has put you in a position where you can’t access your finances, you need to go to court right away. You have a legal right to the funds that are part of your marital estate, and you can get them back. The court will quickly determine your financial status quo and order that your spouse immediately gives you access to your accounts—or replaces the funds they took from it.
Contact Our Divorce and Family Law Firm in Evanston, Chicago, Lake Forest and Oak Brook
If your spouse has financially cut you off, please contact our team right away. We will help you get to court, gain access to your funds and ensure you have the means to care for yourself and your family.