Whether you are divorcing or separating, or you simply wish to hold separate bank accounts, altering your current account from a joint account to a single account isn't always easy. Each bank's procedure will differ, and some may even request that you close out the joint account and open a new one on your own. Joint account procedures require both parties named on the account to be present and in agreement, which could be difficult if you are going through a divorce.
Visit the bank where you hold the joint account. You will both be required to sign documents in order to close out or alter the status on the account, even if you are the primary account holder. In the event that you do your banking online with a credit union, request the form to be sent in the mail and have both parties fill in and sign the request form.
Submit a written request to the bank if you are not the primary account owner, asking to be taken off the account. The bank will notify the primary account owner of the status change and send you paperwork that needs to be filed in order to alter the account status. The primary account holder will also be required to sign the request before the account status is changed.
Close the account if the bank does not offer the option to remove an account holder's name from joint accounts. When closing the account, you will be required to pay any outstanding fees or balances before the account can be closed. This action protects both parties in the event that one of you attempts to use the joint account illegally to access funds or pay bills.
Open a new account in your name only. When using this account, if you are issued a two-party check, you will not be able to deposit that check into your account unless the second party appears at the bank and signs it.
Taking action to close a joint account as soon as possible protects you from a second party accessing and using funds you do not want them to use.
Tips and warnings
- Taking action to close a joint account as soon as possible protects you from a second party accessing and using funds you do not want them to use.