What happens to your savings account following a divorce or separation?
Unfortunately, living together and separating both require you to take care of certain administrative matters. Read on to see what happens to joint or personal savings accounts if cohabiting partners decide to divorce or separate.
Savings accounts in the event of divorce
If you are getting divorced, you must inform the bank. The following steps partly depend on you and your (ex-)partner.
If you have a joint savings account, you can both spend or withdraw money from it separately. If you decide to separate, you can ask for the account to be blocked, which means that neither partner can access the savings independently. If you and your partner come to an agreement on how to split the money in that account, you should both pass this information on to the bank. If your divorce goes to court, a judge will decide how the savings are divided up.
A divorce may also have an impact on your personal savings account. Even if you got married without a marriage contract, you are still married under the statutory scheme, which means all your income is shared. Consequently, the money in your personal savings account can legally belong to your partner.
If you did draw up a marriage contract, you should check it to see whether you chose to marry with 'separation of property'. In that case, your marriage contract determines which property and income belongs to which partner.
The situation when unmarried partners living together choose to separate
If you aren’t married, you are of course the only person who can access the money in your personal savings account. It doesn’t matter whether you’re cohabiting casually or under a legal arrangement, this money remains yours if you separate. Should you at some time have given your partner power of attorney for your personal savings account, they will still be able to access the money on it. You can revoke this power of attorney at any time, even without your partner's consent.
If you have a joint savings account, you will probably have given each other power of attorney to manage it. This means that both parties can access the funds in the account. If you decide to revoke this power of attorney, perhaps because you are separating, neither party will be able to access those savings independently. From then on, you will both have to carry out any transactions jointly. To ensure the money is divided correctly, you will have to try to prove what belongs to you and what to your partner.
If you have any further questions about your joint or personal savings account, feel free to contact us and we’ll look at them with you in light of your personal situation.