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Should you close a joint bank account during a divorce?

On Behalf of | Jan 14, 2023 | Property Division |

If you get a divorce, one piece of advice that people will sometimes give you is to close your bank account. They may tell you that you want to make sure that your spouse doesn’t empty that account and take all of your money, for example. It also may simply be a useful logistical move if the two of you get your paychecks deposited directly into that account and you need to split up your future earnings.

But should you actually close your account? There are some things to be wary of, so be sure you do it the right way.

You still need to divide the money

The thing to remember is that both you and your spouse have a right to the money held in that account, so you need to divide the money along with your other assets. If you close the account together, split up the money and then open individual accounts to keep things separate, that’s fine.

You can run into problems if you skip some of these steps. For instance, what if you drain the account and close it without telling your spouse? You may think that you’re just trying to keep them from taking your money, but, from their perspective, that’s exactly what you have done. This can lead to disputes and legal problems, especially if it appears that you were trying to hide or dissipate family assets.

The financial side of the divorce process can be very complex and it is one area that often grows contentious. It’s quite important for both you and your spouse to understand all the legal steps you can take to make this go smoothly.