Can a Husband Withhold Money from His Wife?

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If a wife has to constantly ask her husband for money or feels more like a child and less like a partner, it can be frustrating and demeaning. This has some wives wondering, “can a husband withhold money from his wife?”

Here’s what I think:

It’s not illegal for a spouse to withhold funds from the other unless it leaves them unable to provide for themselves or any children involved. But marriages are 50/50 partnerships, and both people should be responsible for the finances and have an equal say in how the money is allocated.

Even if the husband is the sole breadwinner.

Ultimately, if your husband is not treating you like an equal, making you beg for money, or withholding money, you don’t have a money problem; you have a marriage problem.

But that’s not all there is to know.

So in this article, we’ll look at why this happens, what to do to fix it, and what your legal rights are, too, should you need to exercise them.

Just keep reading!

You CAN change your husband’s controlling behavior before it completely derails your marriage.

I’ve been in your shoes. You want to move beyond the feeling of being not seen as an equal. And you desperately want your marriage to have trust, mutual acceptance, and to feel like you are both on the same team. Ultimately, this isn’t a money problem; it’s a marriage problem.

Luckily, all hope is NOT lost, and there is something you can do, even if your spouse isn’t willing to talk about or work on the problem.

The website Marriage Helper has been helping tens of thousands of marriages for more than 2 decades. Their in-person 3-day event is legendary and has an unbelievable 77% success rate at saving marriages on the brink of divorce.

But you don’t have to pay for that workshop- especially if your husband isn’t even likely to be willing to attend.

CLICK HERE to book a virtual session with one of their marriage coaches. You can meet just you or with your husband, and get your marriage not only back on track, but better than it ever was!

You literally have nothing to lose and EVERYTHING to gain.

What rights does a husband have over his wife?

A marriage is an equal partnership, and no one spouse has a “right” over the other. Now some spouses may choose to keep bank accounts separate, and legally, that is acceptable. But the most successful marriages are where all aspects of their lives are combined.

Once you are married, you promise to treat your spouse with respect.

You combine your separate lives into one combined life. You can combine finances, debts, and property. You file taxes together; you get breaks on health and auto insurance. You essentially become one unit in the eyes of the government.

You also have a fiduciary responsibility to one another. 

This means you can’t hide funds from your partner. You can’t waste money, and you can’t send money to another person without your spouse’s consent.

If you have a habit of wasting money or secretly spending money, your husband may feel like it’s necessary to withhold money from you, especially if it is making it difficult to take care of household expenses.

If your husband is withholding money from you, communicate with him to find out why. Then, come up with a budget together.

Money and fights about money are major reasons for divorce. So it’s important to talk about your finances and spending habits.

To read more about how to get your spouse to stick to a budget, check out this recent article. I get into why a budget is so important and how to get your spouse on board even if they initially resist.

Just click the link to read it on my site.

Can a spouse withdraw money without permission?

With joint bank accounts, either spouse can withdraw money without needing permission. However, with separate accounts, one cannot legally withdraw funds from a bank account unless they are listed as an account holder.

If you have a shared account, either one of you can take money out as you see fit.

It doesn’t matter who puts money in the account. If it is a joint account, the money in the account belongs to both of you. Either of you can withdraw money without obtaining permission from the other person.

You don’t even have to tell the other person you’re withdrawing money. 

But you can’t just go and clear out the account, either. That money is there to pay bills and other household expenses.

Just like your husband can’t deprive you of money in a joint account, you can’t deprive him of that money, either.

But if the account is in your husband’s name alone, you cannot withdraw money without his permission even if you’ve been given permission before, especially if he has specifically told you that you are not allowed to withdraw money out of his account.

My husband says his money is his – is that right?

Technically and legally, a husband can do as they please with their earned income. But morally, it is marital income and should be treated as equal property for both spouses. 

Marriage is about coming together as a team. You are both responsible for finances and debts. This means that his income is your income and vice versa.

If your husband is withholding funds from you, it could be a form of bullying. Or it could simply be that you are irresponsible with money.

If you’re unemployed or underemployed, your husband withholding funds can be really painful. 

Talk to your husband and find out why he is withholding money from you. Try to approach him in a way that is not accusatory. Be respectful, but also explain that you need to have access to the money to buy groceries, pay bills, and make other purchases.

If you don’t already, suggest sharing a bank account.

Fights about money and money problems are one of the top three reasons for divorce. Combining finances is one of the best ways to minimize the fighting.

To read more about why you should share a bank account with your spouse, check out this recent article. Sharing a bank account also allows you to be completely open and transparent with one another, which is vital to a successful marriage.

Just click the link to read it on my site.

Is withholding money from your spouse a form of abuse?

Withholding money from a spouse, in and of itself, is not abuse. However, it could become abuse if that spouse were unable to provide food, water, shelter, or vehicle fuel for themselves due to their spouse withholding money.

If you have a habit of impulse buying or being financially irresponsible, your husband may just feel like he’s doing what needs to be done to protect the household.

According to Financial Intimacy, financial control isn’t just controlling the purse strings. If your husband refuses to share financial information but expects you to account for every penny you spend, it can be a sign of future abuse.

Financial abuse is designed to make your dependence on your partner complete. He completely controls your behavior by cutting off your access to money, mobility, and choice.

But if your husband is not being malicious, maybe he just needs some reassurance that you can be responsible with household funds.

Budgeting is essential for financial success, especially if one of you is freer with money than the other. Budgeting can be challenging. But without a budget, it’s easy to end up in debt.

Luckily, there are some great apps that you and your husband can access 24/7 on your smartphone. 

Take a look at this recent article to read all about the best budgeting apps for couples. These apps keep your debt in check and help ensure that you and your husband are on the same financial page.

Just click the link to read it on my site.

Can my husband withhold his paycheck or refuse to pay bills?

Legally, a husband can withhold his paycheck or stop paying bills. But if he has suddenly stopped and debts, late fees, and penalties are being placed on joint accounts, it may be wise to start protecting yourself by speaking to a lawyer.

Technically, your husband can do whatever he wants with his money. This means if he doesn’t want to give it to you, then he doesn’t have to.

But if he’s stopped paying bills that he used to pay, you may be able to get a court order for him to pay those bills.

This is typically done during a separation or divorce. If an order is in place, and he is still not paying those bills, he can be held in contempt of court.

Before it gets to that point, try to talk to him about why he is withholding his paycheck and refusing to pay bills.

Have you been untrustworthy with the way you handle finances? Maybe there is something else going on? For a marriage to be successful, there must be complete transparency and honesty.

If he is withholding money, maybe he feels like there is a reason to do so.

Approach the situation with mutual respect and understanding. Maybe he is just lashing out and frustrated. If he is so frustrated about finances that he is refusing to pay bills, consider seeing a marriage counselor.

A counselor that specializes in finances can help you get to the bottom of these issues before it leads to divorce.

Final Thoughts

When you get married, you are making a promise to respect one another. Respect means you communicate with one another.

You don’t keep secrets from one another, and you certainly don’t withhold marital funds from one another.

Marriage is a partnership. As partners, you are both responsible for running the household operations, including finances.

You CAN change your husband’s controlling behavior before it completely derails your marriage.

I’ve been in your shoes. You want to move beyond the feeling of being not seen as an equal. And you desperately want your marriage to have trust, mutual acceptance, and to feel like you are both on the same team. Ultimately, this isn’t a money problem; it’s a marriage problem.

Luckily, all hope is NOT lost, and there is something you can do, even if your spouse isn’t willing to talk about or work on the problem.

The website Marriage Helper has been helping tens of thousands of marriages for more than 2 decades. Their in-person 3-day event is legendary and has an unbelievable 77% success rate at saving marriages on the brink of divorce.

But you don’t have to pay for that workshop- especially if your husband isn’t even likely to be willing to attend.

CLICK HERE to book a virtual session with one of their marriage coaches. You can meet just you or with your husband, and get your marriage not only back on track, but better than it ever was!

You literally have nothing to lose and EVERYTHING to gain.

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