While going through a divorce, a lot of things are going to change in your life. One thing that is going to change are your financial accounts. If you and your spouse share any joint bank accounts, that’s something that you will need to change.
So what are the steps that you will need to follow in order to close your joint bank accounts during a divorce?
1) Open An Account In Your Own Name
First and foremost, you are going to need to open a bank account in your own name. This will help you begin to establish your own financial identity. Make sure that you inform the court and your spouse that you have opened up a new account to avoid issues in the future. You can do this through a financial declaration. Keep track of the money coming in and going out of your new account because your attorney will need to know this information.
Once you open a new account, it is a good idea to begin thinking about your post-divorce budget. Doing this at an early stage will help you adjust to your new financial life better.
2) Visit The Bank With Your Spouse
If the divorce is somewhat amicable, you should visit the bank with your spouse. This is because closing the accounts together in person is, by far, the simplest and easiest way to do it. Doing this together will also help to avoid any misunderstanding about where the money in the accounts will be going. To do this, you will need to bring along your government issued ID and be prepared to sign quite a bit of paperwork in order to transfer funds.
3) How Much Money Do You Get?
You might be wondering, if you share any joint bank accounts with your spouse, how much are you entitled to? The answer is simple: half. If you share an account, meaning that both you and your spouse have full access to the joint funds, you are both entitled to half of the money in the account. Taking more than your half may hurt you in the long run and you will probably have to return those funds.
And as a good tip: make sure to clear up any issues of outstanding bills and payments before you begin to divvy up the funds.
4) What If The Divorce Is Not Amicable?
If the divorce is not amicable (to the point that neither you or your spouse is willing to join one another to go to the bank to close the accounts together) the next simplest way is to go to a divorce attorney or mediator.
Both will have the authority to help you freeze joint accounts and deal with jointly held properties as well. They can also help you update provisions in your will and deal with any life insurance beneficiaries.
5) What About Your Children’s Accounts?
If you have any children who are minors with their own bank accounts, the money in their accounts is still considered their money. The courts will decide which parent will continue to have access to the account and who will control the account.
DO NOT transfer money to a child’s account during a divorce in an attempt to hide the money, as all assets that you acquired as a couple will be taken into consideration by the court.
Final Thought: Closing your joint bank accounts is a process that must be complete. Although it is not easy, you can do it! Just take it one step at a time.