In this mini episode, we are going to be talking about maintaining a joint account with your spouse after your divorce.
For many couples, most often for couples who are parents, they will decide that after their divorce, they will continue to maintain a joint checking or savings account, sometimes a joint credit card, that they’ve had during the marriage. And again, this is often as relates to expenses that the couple anticipates incurring for their children. For some couples, it’s just an easier way to share the expenses related to their kids, to have a shared account, to which they – maybe only one person, but often both – contribute and often to which is tied a debit card and/or a credit card that the parents are able to use related to expenses for their kids.
Just a couple of things to point out on this topic. When you have a joint account with somebody, you are each entitled at any time to withdraw 100% of the funds in your account. So, if you’re going to continue to have a joint account with your spouse, you really want to have a relationship in which you fully trust that person to deal with your joint account with total integrity. If you have concerns about whether or not your spouse might be at risk of or willing to withdraw the funds from your account and spend them on something that you were not okay with, a joint account may not be a great resolution for you.
Now, what many people will put in place with regard to a joint account is, in their divorce or their separation agreement, they will say, “We’re maintaining this joint account. We’re going to contribute X dollars. You’re going to contribute Y per month, I’m going to contribute X per month. And here are the eight things that are permissible for us to spend joint funds on. And we may not spend joint funds on anything else unless we mutually agree to it in writing.” And you can decide whether or not you’re comfortable with doing that (mutually agreeing to an expense) over email, which I think is probably fine, but you have to make that decision for yourself in consultation with your own attorney or your mediator. But, if you are going to have a joint account, it’s good practice to say that the funds from this account can only be spent on these things.
That said, if you do feel comfortable sharing your joint account with your spouse, it can be a really convenient way for parents to share spending on their kids.
This was our mini episode on sharing a joint account with an ex-spouse. I hope it was helpful for you.