Asked in Divorce for Virginia

Q: If my name is not on my husbands checking account, can I get into legal trouble by taking half of the money out as mine?

I am a stay at home wife. I am enrolled in college online and my husband works to support us. My name is not on the checking account, but he lets me keep the debit card and get money out whenever I need it. He has become verbally abusive since I quit working. Although he told me he wanted me to stay at home. I’ve tried leaving twice, but he threatened me and whoever was coming to pick me up both times, so I stayed. I had his debit card yesterday and when he asked for it back last night, I refused to give it to him. I told him if he would sign something saying he would peacefully let me leave, then he could have it back. I also told him I took half the money out of the account to help me take care of myself until I got back on my feet. Well supposedly a friend of his who is a lawyer told him to call police and charge me with Grand Larceny charges! I thought as long as we were married, 50 percent of everything that’s his is also mine. But that’s not what his friend said. Which is true?

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1 Lawyer Answer
Wayne E. Holcomb
Wayne E. Holcomb
  • Newport News, VA
  • Licensed in Virginia

A: Given your facts, it is my opinion, yes, you can withdraw 50 percent of the account if you feel you must leave. There is certainly no criminal activity in your intent; you have actually told him your intent. My sincere advice is to get with a local family law attorney soonest. Often time really makes a difference in how these cases play out; for example, who files what first can actually be and advantage. Our best to you, and here's to your strength. Hang in there.

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