Can I Use The Joint Bank Account During My Divorce?
You are jointly and severally liable with your partner in respect of a joint bank account held in both of your names.
If there are savings in a joint bank account, an account holder could withdraw the funds held in that account. If you suspect that your spouse or former partner may withdraw all the funds held in a joint bank account, you may wish to withdraw your half share of any savings held in the joint account and place them into an account held in your sole name pending the outcome of the divorce proceedings. Alternatively, you could consider asking the bank to freeze the account pending agreement with your partner as to what is to happen to the funds held in that account or ask the bank to change the security so that you both need to sign jointly for any withdrawal. This should not be done lightly because a bank can unilaterally decide to freeze the separating parties’ accounts held with them, which would result in significant inconvenience and unpaid bills. Such a step should only be taken with legal advice.
If the joint account is used as a current account and direct debits are taken from this account in respect of your bills, then you need to ensure that there is sufficient money within the account to cover the outgoings or that you rearrange your direct debits to ensure that they are paid out of an account in your sole name.
If the joint account is in overdraft or has an overdraft facility, then you may wish to ask the bank to freeze the account or to remove or reduce the overdraft facility to avoid your partner running up debt on the account.
If you’re going through the divorce process, financial settlements may be weighing heavy on your mind. We can help you reach a financial settlement during a divorce, civil partnership dissolution or separation. Visit our financial settlements page to get further information on the support we can provide.