Can I remove my wife’s name from our bank accounts, credit cards, and other financial obligations that are in both of our names?
We have not filed for divorce yet, though she has moved out and plans on filing at a future date.
I am unable to give you legal advice on divorce. I can give general divorce help for men, though, my knowledge is based on Ohio divorce laws where I am licensed to practice.
Unless there is a state-specific law that states otherwise, it is not illegal to request to have your wife removed from your bank account, credit cards, etc.
This is assuming that there is no divorce case filed and there are no other restraining orders in place that would prevent you from doing the same. If your bank or other financial institution allows you do this without her consent, and there is no court order in place, you are allowed to remove her name from the accounts.
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Be sure you are careful with any and all joint credit cards, joint car loans, or other loans where you were a co-signer that may exist.
If your wife has access to joint credit cards and she continues to use them while you are separated, and she is not paying the bill, you are legally still responsible for the debt incurred by them. This is the case even if you can prove in court that the debts were incurred after separation and you did not receive any benefit from them.
The credit card companies will not take the time to look over a divorce decree if they are not being paid. They will just start their collection process, which could lead to a lawsuit against you if the bill is not resolved.
Therefore, it is actually a good idea to shut down the joint credit cards, close the joint bank accounts, and remove her name from any other financial accounts that she has access to.
However, this does not mean that the funds you have in your name or have removed her name from are solely your property.
The presumption would be that the funds and accounts are all marital property and thus would be split 50/50 in a divorce, at least according to the property division laws in my state. You are protecting your assets and preventing waste by removing her name from these accounts. The money in the accounts may or may not end up remaining your property at the end of a divorce, though it is at least protected.
Remember, I am unable to provide you with anything more than divorce tips for men, so please consult with a divorce lawyer in your jurisdiction.