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Asset and property division: Closing joint bank accounts

While often the first step toward a brighter future, the actual divorce process can be quite stressful to get through. Not only is there the emotional side to deal with, but there are also practical aspects that need addressed, such as asset and property division. One of the first and most basic of these tasks is closing a joint bank account.

Many married couples share joint checking and/or savings accounts at their Massachusetts bank. When it comes time to close the account, most banks will allow individuals to do so without requiring permission from the other account holders, though bringing the other person along may speed up the process. The bank will require proof identification, such as a driver's license, and will have request forms to fill out.

The bank will also almost certainly require the account closing to be completed in person, and while potentially unpleasant, both spouses going to the bank together can help prevent misunderstandings and confusion. So too will settling the division of assets in advance. If spouses are having difficulty agreeing on asset separation, a court usually then steps in to classify assets as either marital or separate.

Generally, funds acquired before (and not used during) the marriage, or funds that were acquired via inheritance may be considered separate property. Marital property, on the other hand, includes any funds acquired during the marriage, which are thus subject to division during the divorce. However, every marriage – and thus every divorce – is unique and comes with its own set of complications Divorcing Massachusetts couples struggling to determine asset and property division often seek the counsel of an experienced divorce attorney to help them with the process.

Source:, "How To Close A Joint Bank Account", Adams Hartung, July 17, 2017

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