What can be done for a wife whose husband has never let her have access to his bank account?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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What can be done for a wife whose husband has never let her have access to his bank account?

My sister has been married for 10 years and has 4 children with a man. He has
controlled her throughout the entire marriage. She has never had any access to
cash or to his bank account. She has no idea how much money he makes, how
much money he has saved, nothing. Now, he comes home and hands her
divorce papers. She literally has access to no money whatsoever and he is well
aware of that and has her right where he wants her. Is there anything she can
legally do to force him to give her access to the money? I find it hard to believe
that she is just stuck with no options when he so clearly has had this planned all

Asked on September 25, 2018 under Family Law, Arizona


M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

Yes of course your sister can do something.  She can do a lot.  But she needs to get an attorney ASAP.  If she has no access to funds then you may have to lend her some for the retainer.  Take a Promissory Note so it does not look like a gift to her.  Arizona is a community property state so she has a one half undivided interest in marital property.  That is property acquired during the marriage regardless of whose name it is in.  That can be retirement savings (pensions, annuities), all income earned, houses, cars, etc.  It does not matter that she does not know now.  She will.  Her attorney can make a motion for Pendente Lite relief - relief during the pendency of the action - which is support for her and the kids and even exclusive use and occupancy of the home.  Good luck.

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