How Do I Handle Joint Accounts During and After Divorce

When a couple chooses to marry, each spouse likely has a sense that their life is about to become more intertwined with the life of their partner. However, it is difficult to prepare engaged couples for just how significantly interdependent their lives are about to become. It is sometimes only after a couple chooses to divorce that it becomes clear just how linked spouses tend to become in virtually every conceivable way. For example, practically every kind of social media, financial and practical “account” imaginable tends to be jointly held while spouses remain married. The process of separating these accounts can be both practically and legally complex.  

If you are either planning to divorce, currently navigating the divorce process or have recently finalized your divorce agreement, please check in with your attorney before separating any of your accounts. If you begin removing yourself or your spouse from existing accounts without first receiving the “go ahead” from your attorney, you could face significant legal consequences. Even something as simple as shutting down your joint Facebook account could be seen as manipulative, destructive or even as a violation of law, when viewed by the court in a certain light. As a result, it is generally a good idea to discuss the division of joint accounts with your attorney before you act.

Managing Accounts During and After Divorce

As tricky as dividing accounts can be, it is a process that is both important and urgent in the wake of a decision to divorce. While some accounts must remain jointly held for the duration of the divorce process (and, in some cases, for a period of time following finalization) it is generally a good idea to separate accounts quickly. Why? Because as long as you and your spouse remain legally tied together under the terms of service of any account, you may be held responsible for your spouse’s actions on that account. For example, if your spouse runs up debt on a credit card that is jointly held, you may be held responsible for that debt down the line.

Unless you are advised otherwise by your attorney, please keep in mind that it is usually a better idea to close or cancel all joint accounts instead of having one spouse hold onto the account and the other open a new one under his or her name. The reasons for this are complex, but generally speaking, this is usually the best course of action when trying to avoid unwanted liabilities later on.

Legal Guidance Is Available

If you have questions about financial challenges during divorce specifically or the divorce process more generally, please do not hesitate to contact an experienced family law attorney and schedule a consultation. Divorce can be complex, time-intensive and stressful. Working with an experienced lawyer can help to grant you the peace of mind that comes with knowing that a professional is looking out for your interests. In addition, asking questions and voicing concerns throughout the process may help you to avoid many of the common pitfalls that numerous individuals struggle with when they are not adequately supported during their divorce-related life transition.

Divorce can indeed be a significant challenge. But you do not need to navigate any legal aspects of this challenge alone. Please consider scheduling a consultation with an experienced family lawyer in Arlington, Texas today, such as from Brandy Austin Law Firm, PLLC

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