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Closing joint bank accounts

When couples in North Carolina decide to end their marriages, financial matters are often of significant concern. Most married couples have intertwined finances, and it can take both time and effort for the spouses to disconnect their finances from those of their ex-husband or ex-wife.

Even when a divorce is amicable, finances can be a touchy subject. One way to begin this process and avoid potential future conflict is to close joint bank accounts. Doing so not only helps to prevent conflict over shared funds and financial responsibilities, but it also allows each spouse to rebuild their personal finances.

Every bank has its own policy regarding closing a joint account, which is why spouses should contact banks immediately to find out what needs to be done. In some cases, both spouses will be expected to visit the bank, although in other situations a bank account can be closed online or via a faxed agreement.

The couple should decide ahead of time how to divide any remaining funds in the account. In all cases, the account should have a zero balance at the date of closing, and both spouses should either turn over any remaining paper checks or debit cards to the bank or destroy them outright.

If a couple uses an account's automatic payment feature to pay bills, one of the spouses should take responsibility for discontinuing the automatic payments, confirming the disconnection and arranging for these bills to be paid through a different account. Similarly, spouses should contact their respective workplace payroll departments to ensure that direct deposits go into a different account.

Individuals who are going through a divorce may benefit from speaking with an experienced family law attorney. The lawyer may be able to review the client's case and make recommendations regarding personal finance issues, including property division, selling the marital home, splitting retirement accounts and spousal support.

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