If you have any joint accounts with your partner then you’ll probably need to see your bank and change them into single accounts. However, as this will involve splitting your assets, it’s not something to be rushed into!
Freeze joint accounts
You may want to freeze your joint accounts to make sure your partner can’t spend all your money, or rack up new debts on a joint credit card. By freezing the accounts when you split, you can guarantee that the funds can be shared fairly when you get around to arranging your financial settlement.
Tip: You may need to make alternative arrangements for bills that would usually have come out of joint accounts. Cash isn’t the only asset you’ll want to protect so keep up to date with those rent or mortgage payments and other essentials.
Divide the money
Splitting your assets after a break up can be a major source of stress, even if your relationship ended amicably. It’s important to keep the distribution fair and ensure both parties have enough to live on.
If you’re struggling to agree you may need to get help from a mediator. If you’re divorcing, your solicitor can advise you on the fairest way to split your money.
How to split money from a joint account
You may decide to close your joint account and transfer your share of the money into new single accounts. Alternatively one person may opt to keep the joint account but take the second name off.
If you decide on the second option you may both need to speak to someone at your bank to get a name removed from the account. This is because some banks view one party as the ‘main’ account holder, and they will have authority over the account which the other party doesn’t.
The danger of joint accounts that stay in both names
Even if you agree not to touch the joint account and surrender your card, if your name stays on the account then any activity will be linked to you and your credit score. If it runs into its overdraft, or beyond, this will be deemed to be partly your responsibility.
For credit cards and loans that remain in both names, the debts will affect your credit score and repayments remain partly your responsibility.
If you’re feeling confused or uncertain about what action needs to be taken, talk to an advisor at your bank and explain the situation. They will be able to guide you through each step, to make sure your finances are protected during and after the split.
Other financial advice
For general financial advice, including debt advice, you can get free help from your local Citizen’s Advice Bureau, or find lots of useful information at http://www.adviceguide.org.uk – the CAB’s advisory website. For help with mortgages, pensions, or investments, you may need to speak to an Independent Financial Advisor, or a mortgage broker.
Don’t be put off by the complexity of your financial matters. There is plenty of help available to give you peace of mind and protect your money.