Single Again - FAQs After A Separation

For your convenience, we have listed answered several frequently asked questions regarding changes members often wish to make to their accounts after separation or divorce. We know that every circumstance is personal and unique. Commonwealth Credit Union Member Service Representatives are available to assist you at any branch, by phone, or via email.

Account Information

Why do I need to open a new checking account? Can’t I just remove a name from my account?

When changing a checking account from joint to single we can only protect both parties by converting to a new checking account. If either party continues to use the previous joint checking account, the account could be subjected to unauthorized activity. By changing the checking account number, both parties will have a fresh start and protect their accounts.

How do I stop my joint owner from taking money out of the account while I am waiting for the divorce to be final?

It’s important to note that neither party of a joint account can be denied access as long as they are both listed as account holders on the account. However, you do have several options available that will prevent a joint owner from having access to the money in the account.

If you are the primary account holder, you can change the account status from a joint to a single account. We recommend that you also change the account number of your savings and checking accounts. When changing the account status to single, we will close any ATM or Visa Debit Cards assigned to the joint owner. It is also recommended that you change any Personal Identification Numbers attached to this account.

If you are not the primary account holder, you may submit a signed request to have yourself removed from the joint account. The primary account holder will need to be notified that the joint owner is requesting to be removed because the draft number will need to be changed if a checking account is involved.

What happens if a check is issued in both of our names such as a tax check? Can my former spouse cash the check?

Government checks made payable to 2 individuals requires the verified endorsement of both parties prior to cashing.

  • If two payees are on the check and it is being deposited to a joint account where both payees match the account ownership, we will verify both signature endorsements and make the deposit. However, if any signature does not match the account signature card, we will not be able to accept the check for deposit.
  • If two payees are on the check and it is being deposited into a single ownership account where one payee matches the account ownership, the non-member payee must be present and must endorse the check "Pay to the order of (the member)" in the presence of the Commonwealth Credit Union employee (MSR). The MSR will verify a photo ID and signature of the non-member payee. The member payee would then endorse below the non-member endorsement so the deposit could be made.

Can my joint owner get information on my account?

Account information will only be released to the current account holder(s). You can elect to password protect your account as an additional measure of security for identity verification. If you have any Personal Identification Numbers (PIN) on the account it is recommended that you change them especially if you have reason to believe that another party has knowledge of the number.

How do I change my name on my account?

In order to change your name on the account a Member Application form or a written request for the change must be submitted along with proof of name change (new drivers license, marriage certificate, divorce decree, etc.) The submitted request must be signed to verify the member has made this request for name change and to have on record a copy of the new signature.

If I change my name, can I continue to use the checks I have with the old name?

To stave off any problems associated with the new name differing from the old name on the checks we do not recommend continued use of the old checks. This name conflict could cause the checks to not be accepted as negotiable instruments. When you change your name on your Commonwealth Credit Union account we can issue temporary checks to use until your new check order has been received.

Can I change the address on a joint account during a separation?

Yes, you can use any one of the following methods: Stop by any branch or contact us at 800.228.6420 or 502.564.4775.

Can I use my maiden name on my account during our divorce?

As soon as the official name change documents have been received and the account has been modified to reflect the maiden name, you may then access the account using the maiden name.

When can I apply for a loan in just my name? 

Applying for a loan in just one members name has always been an option as long as that member is a primary account holder.

Loans and Credit

Can I be notified if my joint owner applies for credit with my name?

You will need to request this through the credit reporting agencies.

What do I need to do to remove a name from my vehicle title?

This can be accomplished with the aid of court records and a Power of Attorney. Since there could be numerous scenarios surrounding ownership of a vehicle title, please contact us for information.

What do I need to do to remove a name from my home?

The designated owner would re-apply as a single applicant to have the loan modified in order to remove a joint name from the loan. Requirements can change so we recommend you speak with our Mortgage Department for full details.

Will my joint owner be able to use our credit cards?

If they are a Joint Owner of the card, they can still use the card as long as it is open. We advise you reapply for a single account and have the joint account closed.

If they are an Authorized User, please contact us to have them removed. However unless you retrieve the card they will still be able to charge items against the card. It would be best to close the existing account and re-open a new one with a new number.

What do I do if I can no longer afford the loan payments?

Contact us immediately.

If you have already become past due, contact us and advise us of your situation. We may be able to suggest steps for you to take or even work out a temporary solution until you get back on your feet.

If I apply for credit before the divorce is final, is my spouse legally responsible too? 

No, your spouse will not be responsible. You would not be making joint application without his/her consent. The court would go back to the date of separation to determine who was legally responsible for what debts.

Should I sign the quit claim deed to our home if my spouse is awarded the home? Or should I wait until it is refinanced into my spouse’s name?

The quit claim deed needs to be signed before the mortgage loan can be refinanced or modified.

Will my credit rating be affected if my former spouse does not make payments to loans we have that my former spouse is responsible for?

Yes, as long as your name is on any contract, your credit rating will reflect the status of that account.

The divorce court says my former spouse is responsible for making certain loan payments. Can financial institutions still collect from me?

If your name is on the contract, you are still financially and contractually responsible for the debt.

What can I do? I cannot get approved for any loan as I no longer have my former spouse’s income to use. With all of the debts being joint, I no longer qualify for loans with just my income?

You can establish a good credit history if you start slow and with a small amount. For example, you could take out a $500.00 loan and pay it back in monthly payments to begin establishing credit in your name.

How long will my divorce take?

That can all depend on how much property, debt, and custody decisions there are to make. Please consult with your attorney.

Other Finance

How do I handle my taxes? Do I file jointly or individually?

Please consult with your accountant and/or attorney for advice on your tax status and filing.

My former spouse is currently listed as beneficiary. Where do I start in changing beneficiary information on my bank accounts and investments? 

Contact your local branch or investment office for instructions. Most will need this change to be documented in writing. As long as you are the primary account holder it will not involve any additional documentation or court documents.

How should I go about changing a will we setup jointly? Does my former spouse have to agree with my wishes and vice versa?

Please contact your attorney or the office that contracted your will for advice and instructions for changing your will.