Banks failing divorcees, website claims
According to financial website SavvyWoman, banks often fail to clearly explain to couples opening joint accounts that both will be equally liable for expenditure in the account, regardless of who spent the money – so if the relationship ends one partner could be liable for overdrafts and other debts run up by the other.
Some banks are also slow to close or freeze accounts when couples with joint accounts split acrimoniously, the site claims.
SavvyWoman founder Sarah Pennells said:
“Of course, couples who take out a joint account have a responsibility, but so do banks, and I’d like to see all banks and building societies help couples manage their joint accounts when their relationship breaks down, by making sure both partners have to agree any extra spending or offering to freeze the account. They should also give couples consistently clear and concise information about their responsibilities for any debts on joint accounts before they sign to open the account. At the moment, some banks just cover this in their terms and conditions – which can run to many pages – while others ask couples to sign a separate letter spelling out who’s responsible for any debt on a joint loan.”
Pennells, a personal finance journalist, called on banks to introduce a facility which would require joint authorisation for expenditure in joint accounts if a relationship ends, or allow such accounts to be frozen without delay.
Photo by William Grootonk via Flickr under a Creative Commons licence
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Marilyn Stowe is the senior partner in Stowe Family Law, which has offices in Yorkshire, Cheshire and London. With more than 30 years’ experience handling divorce cases and family law proceedings she is regarded as one of the most formidable and sought after divorce lawyers in the UK. In 2012, Marilyn became one of the first solicitors to qualify as a family law arbitrator.
All persons mentioned in the scenarios are fictitious: details have been deliberately changed in order to protect identities and other confidential circumstances of my clients. All advice and information on this blog including posts written by guest authors, is given only as a general guide to the operation of the law on the date of publication. Readers must place no reliance whatsoever on the content of this blog and must always obtain their own legal advice. Marilyn Stowe, Stowe Family Law LLP and guest authors accept no liability whatsoever arising as a result of reliance upon its content.
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