5 Reasons Divorce Lawyers Say Get Rid of Your Joint Account

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It may not come down to death doing you both part if your partner’s spending habits wreak too much havoc on your relationship first. Deep financial stress is one of the biggest factors leading to divorce proceedings, so eliminating the amount of arguments you have over your shared checking and savings accounts may be a good game plan. It could be time to tuck your personal debit card away and see what divorce lawyers have to say about joint bank accounts. 

What Are the Rules of a Joint Bank Account?

In general, joint accounts offer all the same features as any other regular or online bank account. The difference is that instead of one individual account holder, there are two with equal access to both the funds and responsibilities of the account. As both parties have equal access, if the relationship turns sour this could lead to who can take what funds, and what each party is owed.

Top 5 Reasons To Reconsider Opening a Joint Account

According to many divorce attorneys, you may want to rethink about opening a joint bank account. Having a joint checking account and other shared expense issues have been listed as reasons for many divorce cases. 

  1. Premarital savings
  2. Premarital debts
  3. Psychology of how much each partner makes
  4. Better personal spending habits 
  5. Less fighting over money 
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1. Premarital Savings 

As many Americans are getting married later in life than in previous generations, chances are better that individuals will have more established savings and assets when they enter a union. Having separate property and funds could protect you if your marriage should end. Azemika & Azemika, a law firm out of California has this to say about premarital savings:

If you had an account or funds prior to your marriage, and want to keep that account as separate property, it’s vital to keep those funds separate from your partner’s. If you co-mingle these funds, they become marital property which is susceptible to being divided by the courts or by creditors. 

2. Premarital Debts 

Keeping things separate both prior and during your marriage could save you in the long run. You may not want to take on your spouse’s student loans, credit card debts or child support and alimony payments. If you open a joint account your wages could get garnished for any of those bills.

3. Psychology of How Much Each Partner Makes 

What you earn in your paycheck often mentally equates to the amount of money in the account. If you earn more than your spouse this can lead to resentment on both sides of the equation, especially if when this resentment leads to separation. Here is what Hoelscher Gebbia Cepeda, PLLC, a law firm out of San Antonio, Texas, has to say about joint accounts:

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Most income the spouses earned and deposited while they were married into a bank account will be considered community property and subject to division. If the account only holds earned income, it may be easier to prove that it’s community property.

4. Better Personal Spending Habits 

If you are the sole account owner of your checking or savings account you might be more inclined to take responsibility for your budget and keep track of what’s going in as well as what’s moving out of your account. Your personal spending habits, but like your personal information, will be for you and you alone which may assist you in being more fiscally responsible.

5. Less Fighting Over Money

Money in a joint account is not always considered for the same needs and wants by each account holder. Infinity Law Group, a law firm based in Massachusetts, has this to say about joint accounts when it comes to divorce:

For some, the problems involved are exacerbated by financial concerns. Either they have money they want to protect or there is not enough at hand. It may seem the solution is to delve into the family bank accounts. Yet, there are serious legal and personal issues to consider. Nobody wants to wind up in trouble with the courts for withdrawing money from a joint bank account

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Final Take To GO 

Having your own identity within a partnership could feel like it is keeping things too separate, but there is also a liberation to it as well. It frees you from having to worry about the what-ifs of the marriage and lets you appreciate what is. Aside from money, there are other assets you may want to consider keeping in your name.

Here are some examples of assets or money the courts may consider separate and not shared and should be kept so in case of divorce:

  • The property you owned before marriage
  • Money or assets gifted to one spouse from the other
  • Inherited assets and money
  • Any assets listed as separate property in a prenuptial agreement
  • Any assets listed as separate property from a previous marriage


Here are some answers to frequently asked questions about why you should consider avoiding joint bank accounts according to divorce lawyers.
  • What are the rules of joint account?
    • A joint account is a bank account where two or more people are account owners, and therefore have equal access to the accounts as well as share responsibility for any charges or fees for the account. Depending on the financial institution, the joint account signatures of each account holder for transactions, or just one could be sufficient so make sure you understand your bank's joint account policies.
  • What are the disadvantages of a joint account?
    • Here are a few examples of the disadvantages of a joint account:
      • Any savings you have before marriage could be equally split in a divorce if put in a joint account.
      • You could be responsible for your partner's premarital debts and may have your wages garnished to pay them.
      • The psychology of how much each partner makes can get contentious if one partner far out earns another.
      • There could be less fighting over money if each partner is responsible for their own personal finances.
  • What are the types of joint accounts?
    • Though joint account parameters can vary depending on the bank, credit union or financial institution, typically there are two main types of joint accounts:
      • Convenience accounts
      • Survivorship accounts
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