Working With Your Financial Institutions During Divorce

If you are approaching divorce in North Carolina, you are likely on the verge of a major financial shift. The property division process can affect many of your assets, even if you have a prenuptial agreement in place. One of your first steps should be to take an inventory of assets held in financial institutions, such as banks, credit unions, brokerages, and so on. Communication is key during this process, and you must let your financial institutions know exactly what is going on with your divorce. The best financial institutions have clear policies in place when it comes to dealing with these situations, and they can take certain steps to protect your assets. Here is how you should communicate with them:

What Advice Do Banks in North Carolina Offer Divorcing Spouses?

Many banks offer divorcing spouses a range of advice. While it is always a good idea to consult with your divorce attorney before making certain financial decisions, this advice may be helpful as you determine your next steps.

For example, Truist Bank (one of the most popular banks in North Carolina) advises divorcing spouses to collect all account numbers, user IDs, and passwords associated with joint accounts. They also recommend that you collect the names and phone numbers of bank advisors and contacts that you have at the banks. In addition, Truist recommends that spouses establish at least one credit card that is solely in their name as they approach divorce.

Another notable bank is First Citizens, which calls North Carolina home and recently made headlines for buying what was left of Silicon Valley Bank. First Citizens stresses the importance of opening your own bank account as soon as divorce becomes clear. They also point out that you should divert all new paychecks and income into this new account. For example, your employer might pay you through direct deposit. If your direct deposit information is linked with a joint account, this may cause issues as you move forward.

Bank of America is another common choice for spouses in North Carolina and those across the entire nation. This bank takes a much more direct approach when it comes to divorce advice, recommending that spouses immediately cancel all joint accounts. These might include credit cards, checking accounts, and savings accounts. The bank then goes on to recommend that you establish individual accounts solely in your name.

What Should I Tell My Bank?

Generally speaking, transparency and clear communication is beneficial for all aspects of divorce, whether you are speaking with your spouse, your financial institution, or your lawyer. Although it might seem awkward to inform your bank of your divorce, it is best to relay this information as quickly as possible. Provide as many financial details as possible, and let your bank know about your unique situation. From there, your banking advisors can recommend the best course of action. They may also direct you to open new accounts and credit cards in a highly streamlined fashion.

Of course, you may wish to discuss certain financial steps with your attorney beforehand. Generally speaking, however, it is best to separate yourself financially from your ex as quickly as possible while creating a new financial presence.

You May Encounter Challenges

While it might seem easy to close joint accounts and open new ones solely in your name, there are various challenges that you need to be aware of. Both spouses must give their permission before joint accounts are closed. You may wish to act quickly to close these accounts, but your spouse could cause delays by not providing this permission.

Another potential issue involves the date of separation. Often, the date of separation in North Carolina is the moment at which spouses become financially independent from each other. This might involve closing joint accounts and opening new ones. However, the date of separation is not always clear if there are numerous transactions of this nature. The date of separation may be especially important in North Carolina, where there is a one-year separation period that only begins at the date of separation.

Where Can I Find a Divorce Attorney in North Carolina?

If you have been searching for a qualified divorce attorney in North Carolina, look no further than Arnold & Smith, PLLC. Over the years, we have helped numerous divorcing spouses in the Tar Heel State, and we know that protecting your assets is a major concern. This is especially true if you have a high net worth that consists of numerous complex assets. High-income spouses should also consider the benefits of swift, efficient action when securing assets held in financial institutions. The sooner you become financially separate from your spouse, the sooner you can start saving and protecting your income. Reach out today to discuss your legal options.