Can you close a shared bank account during divorce?

On Behalf of | Dec 15, 2023 | Property Division

Closing a joint bank account can be important during a divorce. For instance, perhaps both you and your spouse use the same bank account for your paychecks. The divorce process can take months and, if you’re separated, you probably each want to have your own bank account for future paychecks.

That does not mean that closing a bank account won’t cause problems. It’s very important to know how to do it the right way so that you don’t make the divorce process more difficult than it needs to be.

You may have to close it together

Many financial institutions require both people who are owners on a joint account to be at the physical branch location together to close it. One person can’t do it alone. Even though that person is an account owner, they have to work with the other owner to close it.

After all, in a divorce, both people may have a right to the funds that are in that shared bank account. These need to be divided as the assets are divided. If one person closed the account and took all of the funds, that could be a violation of the other person’s rights when it comes time to go through property division. If both people close the account together, they can split the money up and each deposit their share in their new personal account.

This is just one of the areas where it’s important to take all of the proper steps as you go through a divorce. Make sure you understand your legal rights and the options you have.