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Managing Joint Accounts During Divorce: When to Open & Close Accounts

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One of the common mistakes people make during a divorce is not paying enough attention to their joint accounts. If you are considering divorce, attempt to get your affairs in order before it becomes necessary. Start by identifying your accounts. Before you file for divorce, put together a list of your personal and joint accounts. Include any bank, credit union, credit card, savings, brokerage, and loan accounts.

Your Pre-Divorce Account Inventory Should Include:

•    Account Numbers

•    Personal or Joint Status

•    Current Balance

•    Bank/Creditor Address and Phone Number

•    Scheduled Automatic Withdrawals

•    Date of Account Opening

•    Account or Loan Balance Before Marriage (if applicable)

Request a Credit Report:

Pulling a credit report will enable you to double check your listing of accounts and ensure you haven’t missed any. Having your account information will allow you to keep track of your spouse’s expenditures, and have the info you need to make a claim to any funds that are squandered or hidden during the divorce process.

When to Remove Funds from Joint Accounts:

How and when to divide and protect assets after a marital split is one of the biggest questions divorcing couples ask. The court, under state law, will determine how much money or assets you receive as part of the divorce. It’s never a good idea to remove more than 50% of the funds in a joint account. A judge could require that you return any funds you withdraw.

Opening a New Account During Divorce:

It is a good idea to open a new, separate account during divorce; particularly if the other party is squandering marital funds or assets. Make sure to include information on the new account in the financial declaration, so it does not appear that you are attempting to hide funds. Keep in mind that income earned is still considered marital property.

Should Marital Accounts be Closed During Divorce?

Generally speaking, you should use caution when closing accounts during divorce with a few exceptions like credit cards with a zero balance. This can help prevent a spouse from running up unnecessary debt during the divorce that you could end up responsible for paying once the divorce is final. Pay attention to account balances and spending. Take note of any strange or substantial charges and notify your bank, financial institution, or a lawyer right away.

If you are nervous about how to manage your joint accounts during your divorce and would like to discuss how to protect your assets and minimize the potential damage of marital debt, please get in touch with one of the experienced divorce attorneys at California’s The Maggio Law Firm today.

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