NSW Joint Bank Account and Separation

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Carol Adams

31 August 2014
I would like to know where I stand in relation to having a joint bank account. If I separate from my husband, can I access money in account (separation). I do not have a key card. I think I only have internet access through my husband's other bank accounts. Also, we have money invested in joint names. Can my husband take the money out without my consent? How long would I have to wait to get my half of the invested money as I think he would try to he'd the money from me?


Hi Carol,

After separation, it is important to divide your property as soon as possible. Make sure that you protect and set aside any property that is yours individually. Then you need to divide the jointly held property.

The first thing you should do with respect to your joint bank accounts is to inform the banks of your separation. If it is a joint account, you would have equal access to the money in it, however whether you can access it by simply turning up at the bank and identifying yourself to the teller, depends on whether it is a joint signatory (where you need both people present to make a withdrawal) or single (either one of you can make a withdrawal in the absence of the other). If it is not already a joint signatory account, it may be a good idea to change the account over to being a joint signatory account so that you can keep tabs on what your husband is doing with the money until you arrange a property settlement.

It is a good idea to try to come to an agreement about property yourselves (its much cheaper if you don't need to involve the court), but if you cant, you can then apply to the court to divide property. If your husband was to squirrel away money prior to the property settlement a court would take this into account and make orders for a fair distribution, taking into account many different factors.

This website provides some hand tips for people who have separated from their partner with respect to financial matters. https://www.moneysmart.gov.au/life-events-and-you/life-events/divorce-or-separation#started