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Joint bank accounts: sometimes a double-edged sword

On Behalf of | Jul 26, 2021 | High-Asset Divorce |

Like legions of other married Michigan couples, you perhaps share a bank account with your spouse and readily appreciate its many upsides.

Like simplified finances, for example. A joint account enables a couple to pool resources and independently transact as though both account holders were one person. There is less recordkeeping or need for constant communication back and forth regarding who did what and when.

A recent Forbes article on the topic underscores that. It notes that “both account holders can set up direct deposit, use debit and ATM cards and make withdrawals whenever they like.”

How convenient is that?

And how potentially troublesome?

As meritorious as joint accounts can be, they can quickly turn detrimental for their holders in some instances.

“The problem often arises,” states a financial adviser commenting in the Forbes piece, “when a relationship goes south.” When a union is about crash, “people do weird things with money.”

Like empty a joint account of every last cent, with a soon-to-be ex being completely unaware that a savings vehicle customarily flush with funds has actually become penniless.

The implications of that are obvious. Paying bills can suddenly become a huge issue. An unsuspecting spouse can be held legally liable for overdrafts or bounced checks. Worked-for goals can instantly seem meaningless and unobtainable.

There are legions of cautionary tales spotlighting money matters/concerns in failed marriages. A divorcing party with questions or concerns regarding marital property – its protection and fair division in a dissolution – might reasonably seek timely advice and representation from a proven family law legal team.