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Handling a joint chequing account in a divorce

There are a number of financial considerations both spouses must consider in a separation, not the least of which is the question of joint banking accounts. Alberta residents are reminded that in a divorce situation, joint accounts can represent, at best, an issue to be raised during proceedings and, at worst, a liability to both parties. There are several ways to handle closing such accounts. 

A good first place to start is for both parties to open new, separate accounts in their names only to use for everyday expenses. If a joint account cannot be closed immediately, it is a good idea for both spouses to use it as sparingly as possible. Of course, it is also important for the joint account to be closed as soon as possible, even in the most amicable of divorce situations. 

If the divorce is amicable, it can expedite the process for both parties to be present at the branch when closing the joint account. However, in cases in which animosity runs too high or there is a risk that one party may attempt to clean out the account without the other person's approval, it may be best to consult a legal advisor about how to proceed. Either way, the sooner joint accounts are closed, the better it is for the process. 

Finances can be one of the more challenging aspects of a divorce, as some Alberta residents are already aware. Thankfully, there are options available throughout the province to help both parties navigate this challenging transition. Seeking the support of a qualified legal professional can make a big difference in ensuring a divorce reaches a mutually-satisfying conclusion quickly and efficiently. 

Source: nerdwallet.com, "How to Divorce Your Joint Checking Account", Margarette Burnette, Aug. 4, 2016

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