Ask A Lawyer: How Do I Keep My Wife From Ruining My Finances?


What are the consequences of closing our shared savings and checking so I can control the money? Over the last year, my wife has run up a shared Visa buying shoes and a wardrobe. I do not trust my wife since we were just in a 2-month separation.

I’m back in the home now, but she shows no signs of love, desire, nor hope. In the mean time, I found out her Mom sent her a bit of money a few years ago. She also opened a credit card in her name and is using it to pay our mortgage and other home bills on a monthly basis. She then pays the Visa using our shared checking account. I think she has been building and establishing credit. 

I earn the money because she refuses to work, and I feel that she is positioning herself to leave me and take much of what I have worked for. Any advice?



You should take your concerns, and any available documentation of her financial activities, to an experienced divorce firm, such as Cordell & Cordell, as soon as possible.  You should get your three separate credit reports to confirm what is being reported as your debts, individually or jointly with your wife, from This is the website for the government required free credit report service.  Your credit reports should confirm that she has not used your name to acquire credit and that she has paid various joint debts on time.

How her activities will affect the financial aspects of any dissolution of marriage will require a complete review of all your financial information – assets, debts, retirement accounts, taxes, income and expenses – by a family law attorney with experience in your jurisdiction.  The attorney can also advise you as to how changing the joint accounts may affect your case, the possible unintended consequences of attempting to control the situation, and strategies for obtaining a financial fair dissolution of marriage.


Richard Coffee is a Litigation Manager in the Belleville Illinois office of Cordell & Cordell. He is an experienced divorce attorney whose practice is devoted to domestic litigation. He is licensed in the State of Illinois and is admitted to practice law in the U.S. District Courts for Northern, Central and Southern Illinois.

Mr. Coffee has extensive domestic litigation trial experience representing clients in courts throughout Illinois on all aspects of domestic litigation, including the representation of clients who are current or retired military personnel with issues under the Soldiers and Sailors Civil Relief Act and the Uniformed Services Former Spouses’ Protection Act, clients involved in state court jurisdictional disputes due to the relocation of one or both parties from or to Illinois, and clients with government or private pension benefit valuation and division issues. 

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