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Joint bank accounts and divorce

North Carolina couples who are getting a divorce may need to close any jointly owned assets such as bank and credit card accounts. With credit card accounts, it is important to make sure that any debts are paid off. Creditors might pursue either person for a joint credit card debt regardless of who was actually responsible for the debt in the first place.

Closing a joint bank account can usually be done by only one person although it may be easier if both people are present. Photo identification may be necessary. Before closing the account, the owners should decide how the assets will be distributed. If they are unable to decide, a judge will do so along with making a decision about the distribution of other assets and debts acquired after marriage. Inheritances that have not been commingled in the joint account or with other joint property as well as property acquired before marriage are generally not considered shared marital property.

People should also make sure that any automatic payments from the account have been stopped and that there are not outstanding deposits. If a deposit comes through after the account is closed, some banks may charge a fee after reopening the account and making a deposit.

Property division may be a complex aspect of divorce because people might be trying to balance their emotions with being practical about their financial stability. For example, one person may feel sentimental about keeping the family home, particularly if there are children, but it may be impractical for one person to try to maintain it on a single salary. An attorney may help a person make decisions about how property might be divided with these considerations in mind, and a couple may be happier with an agreement on property division that they negotiate rather than one made by a judge.