How Do I Split A Joint Account In Divorce?

What’s yours is mine and what’s mine is yours, right? In marriage, tons of assets get commingled for one reason or another ”“ perhaps the couple likes the transparency joint assets afford, or the convenience of only needing one account to pay all of those bills. But what happens when a marriage turns sour, and suddenly the last thing you want is for your name to be appended to an account with your ex? Before you get divorced, you need to shut down that joint account.

Fortunately, the process of closing a joint account is not all that difficult, although the particulars of your relationship may make it so. Here is some advice to get that joint account split as easily as possible.

  1. Before you do anything with your joint account, create a new one in your name only. This is the account you will use for your everyday expenses ”“ try to limit your use of the joint account, and stop using it entirely if possible.
  2. Generally, it’s best for you and your spouse to bite your tongues and shut down the joint accounts together. Some institutions such as banks and credit unions require both parties to be present for an account to be closed.
  3. If you are not on good terms with your ex, you should speak to your lawyer as soon as possible regarding any funds kept in joint accounts, especially if you are afraid that your spouse might empty the account and leave you high and dry. Once the divorce petition is filed by either party, a financial restraining order is entered. This is a court order that prevents either spouse from making any big changes to financial accounts.
  4. If the joint account is associated with any recurring debits or deposits, you should make sure to halt those before your account is closed. You don’t want people coming after you for money or late fees associated with the closed account. And if the account receives a deposit after it is closed, it may be reopened by the institution that holds the account ”“ and then you’re stuck on that joint account again until you go back and close it.

Our Denver divorce attorneys can help you plan for your financial future following divorce.