I am sorry you are going through this. Open a new checking account. Put your earnings in that account. Close the joint account. You could borrow against your 401K, but consider that carefully. See an attorney. Do you have a separation agreement? If not, get your attorney to draw one up. Ask her to sign it. Be polite. Be ruthless. If she is seeing someone else it might be a good time to get her to sign one. She may be “wanting to move on” and all that. That will change once the wolf starts to bite.

Bankruptcy is a problem. Have you seen the new bankruptcy rules? You will have to do 6 months of credit counseling before you file. You will have to hire an attorney to even file for bankruptcy. Those attorneys only take cash. Talk to your creditors. See if you can negotiate something.


I am not sure what your question is. Are you asking if you can withdraw money from your 401(k)?

P.S. Please feel free to bring up this or any other topic on our live call-in show every Wednesday at 11:00 a.m. EST. Visit radio.rosen.com/live for details

Helena M. Nevicosi
Attorney with Rosen Law Firm

4101 Lake Boone Trail, Suite 500
Raleigh, North Carolina 27607
919.787.6668 main phone
919.787.6361 main fax

Charlotte Office
301 McCullough Drive
Suite 510
Charlotte, NC 28262
Main Phone: (704)307.4600
Main Fax: (704) 9343.0044

Durham & Chapel Hill Office
1829 East Franklin Street
Building 600
Chapel Hill, NC 27514
(919) 321.0780


The response posted above is based upon the limited factual information made available and is not intended as a full and complete response to the question. The only reliable manner to obtain complete and adequate legal advice is to consult with an attorney, fully explain your situation, and allow the attorney sufficient opportunity to research the applicable law and facts required to render an accurate opinion. The basic information provided above is intended as a public service only, a full discussion with an attorney should be undertaken before taking any action. The information posted on this forum is available for public viewing and is not intended to create an attorney client relationship with any individual. These answers are provided for informational purposes only, a person should consult with their own individual legal counsel before taking any action that could affect their legal rights or obligations.


I’m in a situation where my wife and I separated about 4 months ago. We have a joint checking account and she doesn’t work. She has been staying with a girl friend, but now that situation has run it’s course. Every since the separation, we have gotten further and further behind on bills, to the point that my credit is suffering and I’m beginning of bankruptcy is the only course of action left. While I make enough money to pay bills, there are too may purchases, including hotels and cash withdraws, to keep up. These are being my by my wife. Recently, I have reason to believe she is seeing someone else, although I have no positive proof. Only circumstantial proof that I find very compelling. There are problems with the house that make us unable to see or refinance, so any equity is tied up. I do have 401k, but I’m not sure if I can touch that for such a situation.