At the outset of a divorce, should you clean out the joint account? Or should you refrain from cleaning out the joint account, just to see the account cleaned out by your ex?
Suppose there is $10,000 in the account. If you take the $10,000, your spouse is likely to cry foul, and you may well live to regret what can be perceived as an act of bad faith. But if you do nothing, can you trust that your spouse won't take all the funds? Will it be sufficient consolation to you that your spouse has painted himself or herself as a scoundrel? (That won't pay the rent.)
If you feel like you must take some action, rather than doing nothing, you might consider withdrawing $5,000 (half the balance) and placing it into a separate account solely in your name. Your spouse has much less reason to cry foul. But you also pre-empt your spouse from unfairly secreting all of the joint funds without your knowledge.