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Closing a joint bank account in a divorce

Closing a joint bank account is one of the many tasks an Illinois couple may have to undertake if they decide to get a divorce. It is best to close the account together if possible to avoid any misunderstandings although it may not be necessary to have both parties present. People should take a photo identification and prepare to fill out some paperwork in order to close the account.

Any automatic payments made from the account need to be cancelled before the account is closed. People should also make sure that any deposits have cleared through the account. Ideally, the assets in the account should be divided before closing the account. A couple may be able to agree about how they will divide their assets or it might be necessary to go to court. In court, a judge will decide which assets are considered shared marital assets that need to be divided, and the joint bank account may be included among those along with income and other assets acquired during the marriage.

Another type of joint account that may need to be closed is a credit card account. Any debts should be settled first. People should be aware that if the account is a joint one, creditors may pursue either person for the debt regardless of who actually made the purchase in question.

For this reason, people who are dividing debt in a divorce might want to include language in the divorce settlement that addresses this responsibility. While a decision in a divorce court will have no bearing on how a creditor approaches debt, it may be possible for a person to take a former spouse to court if that spouse does not pay debts as agreed upon. A couple might also agree to take steps such as selling a shared home and paying off debts with the proceeds.

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