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But a new survey has found that it’s joint bank accounts that are causing most of the headaches for UK people going through divorce.

Debt management company Lowell Financial looked at data for divorce-related Google searches, and found that there’s been a huge 68% increase in searches for ‘joint account after divorce’. Overall, the search term ‘divorce’ saw an 80% rise over the last year or so.

According to, over 40% of British people have a joint bank account with a partner. It can be a useful way to manage shared bills, and for both partners to contribute financially.

But researchers at Lowell Financial found that around 39% of joint account holders going through separation found it very difficult to split their finances. And nearly half thought that they weren’t given enough advice about what happens to a joint bank account when a couple splits up.

For many people facing relationship breakdown, this is yet another unwanted source of stress. In fact, bad experiences with sorting out shared accounts have been so unpleasant that nearly 60% told researchers that they wouldn’t ever open a joint account again in the future.
Mortgages, debts and savings also causing divorce stress

It isn’t just joint accounts that cause issues during divorce. Other financial matters can be just as difficult to resolve, as around 46% of those surveyed by Lowell said that agreeing what to do with the shared family home and outstanding mortgage was the most stressful part of getting divorced. Other problems included:

•    Paying off debts accrued by a partner
•    Agreeing how to divide up shared financial products such as savings and investments
•    Discovering that their credit score was impacted by a former spouse’s spending or behaviour.

Tips for splitting shared finances

You can’t guarantee that dividing up money and assets during a divorce will be smooth sailing, but there are some things you can do to avoid serious disagreements. Here are just a few tips to bear in mind:
•    Get reliable advice as soon as possible. Speak to your divorce lawyer or a financial specialist to make sure you understand what happens to shared accounts during divorce. You can also get guidance to help you make informed choices.

•    Try to reach an agreement with your ex-partner. If the lines of communication are still open, sit down together with your joint finances and try to make some decisions. This can make it a lot easier further down the line. If you can’t agree, you can always try mediation before going to court.
•    Get your paperwork together. Make sure you have the full picture of your finances, and that you’re ready with the evidence should you need it.

•    Be prepared to compromise. Agreeing to compromise in some areas can save a lot of disagreement and a drawn-out divorce. Think about what is a fair arrangement, and what outcome you’d like before starting discussions with your ex.

•    Worried about your partner running up debt? Consider getting your joint account frozen, especially if it’s overdrawn. This stops debt building up while you sort out your shared finances.  

Need advice on financial matters during divorce? Get in touch with Liverpool divorce solicitor Tracey Miller for practical, straightforward guidance on the next steps to take.