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Helton Law Firm, PLLC

Closing joint accounts during divorce

Tennessee residents who are going through divorce will eventually have to divide marital assets and close joint accounts. When closing a joint checking or savings account, one should first get permission from all the account holders. It should be noted, however, that one can close an account without the other spouse's permission.

If possible, all parties should go to close an account. This may make the process faster and ensure that each person understands where any funds in the account are being transferred to. Both spouses need valid photo identification and must fill out a form to close the account. In some cases, one could be able to mail or fax a request to close a joint bank account.

Couples should figure out how to divide assets in an account before closing the account. If partners cannot decide how to split a joint account, they could start by determining which assets are separate and marital property. Inheritances, gifts to one spouse or money acquired before the marriage are typically considered separate property. Assets acquired during a marriage, even income from a job, are generally classified as joint property. Joint assets should be divided between a couple.

To successfully close an account, a couple should cancel all automatic deposits and payments so that the account stays closed and no fees are attached. Spouses must also make a plan for canceling joint credit card accounts. Balance transfer accounts could be used to split the debt between both parties. Joint accounts with outstanding balances can be closed once the debt is cleared.

While property division may seem fairly straightforward, it can be complicated. Due to equitable distribution laws, marital property doesn't have to be split equally. Instead, courts aim to divide it fairly. This could mean the person who earned more income receives a bigger share of the assets. However, the other spouse's contributions to a marriage will also be taken into account.

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