When thinking about one’s financial future after divorce, the average person might worry about things like child support, alimony or retirement savings. These are all important financial considerations, but it also overlooks something else — the joint bank account. Many married couples in Texas maintain joint bank accounts for marital expenses, and like other marital assets these accounts need to be addressed during divorce.
A bank account is not automatically considered “joint” just because someone is married. Instead, a joint bank account has both spouse’s names on it. This makes them both owners of the account with the ability to:
- Add funds
- Withdraw funds
- Make important changes
A couple that is still on good enough terms could decide to just close the account, divide the funds and set up their own individual accounts. It is also possible to leave an account as is until they decide what to do with it during the property division process. One downside of leaving it alone is that it gives an angry or vindictive spouse the opportunity to withdraw all of the money out of an account.
When closing the account is not possible, there are a few actions that may help protect the remaining funds. For example, someone might ask a judge for an injunction that would prevent either spouse from draining the account. A Texas couple who is willing to work together might agree to require both their signatures before any funds can be taken out. Regardless of how someone decides to protect a joint bank account during divorce, it is usually best to take action earlier rather than later.