Moving from a Joint to separate Bank Accounts

Husband and I have had a joint bank account since we bought a house together 12 years ago.  Our relationship is not in the same place it was before and money has become a huge issue for us.  

We both bring in equal income however we have different ideas of how we want to live our life now and there is an element of controlling with regards to money.  I am looking for advice on moving to separate accounts with a joint account for bills/food shopping etc.

I would love to hear from others who have done similar and how you approached it.  I have applied to open up my own account with Chase (however have been in a waiting room for 1 week). 

Thank you in advance for any helpful advice. 


  • [Deleted User]
    [Deleted User] Posts: 35,242
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    If you have equal incomes, just agree a sum that you will each put into the joint account and which bills are to be paid from it (ensuring the total transferred is sufficient).

    Your individual bills can then be paid from your own accounts.
  • Annisele
    Annisele Posts: 4,826
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    I think it depends what "different ides of how we want to live our life" means. Obviously you don't have to share here - but "I don't trust my husband not to gamble away the mortgage money" is quite different to "husband scrutinises every last penny I spend and I'm fed up of it". And they're very different to "what I really want is a divorce, but separate accounts seems a good first step", and to "the real problem here is that we don't have enough money". I can think of plenty of other explanations.

    If you both fundamentally trust each other to pay the bills you promise that you'll pay, maybe you'd be better off agreeing to abandon the joint account entirely and each agree to take on particular obligations from your own individual accounts. For example, for some couples (rent/mortgage plus utilities) is broadly equal to (childcare plus weekly shops), so each partner can take on one of those things.

    Another option is to use a joint account for costs that are pretty much fixed each month - housing costs, utilities - then alternate who pays for the variable things like food shopping from their individual account.

    The way my husband and I do it is to use our own individual accounts for everything, then about once a year we'll compare how much money we each have in our bank accounts. If one person has a significantly bigger bank balance than the other, the richer person will make a payment of half the difference to the poorer person. (Written out that sounds a really weird thing to do, but it's worked for us for twenty years or so.)

  • Gavin83
    Gavin83 Posts: 8,722
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    Me and my wife have our own separate accounts that our salaries get paid into. We then have 3 joint accounts we pay the same amount into each month:
    • First account is used for fixed bills, so mortgage, council tax, energy, etc.
    • Second account is used for variable joint spending, mainly food shopping.
    • Third account is a joint savings account. Use it for big spends such as holidays and house maintenance.
    Everything left in our accounts is ours to do with as we wish. Works for us.

    We have both always earned roughly the same salary though. If one of us earned a lot more than the other then I imagine we'd likely adjust how the above worked.
  • Exodi
    Exodi Posts: 2,747
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    To hopefully add to the above, my partner and I also have our salaries paid into a our own seperate accounts, then transfer a sum to a joint account which all the bills are paid out of.

    We have unequal incomes, and we work it out so we're contributing the same % of our net (take home) income.

    For example, if I earned £2,000 and my partner earned £1,000 and the amount needed for the joint account is £1200.

    1200/(2000+1000) = 40%

    Therefore I would contribute 40% of my net pay: 2000*0.4 = 800 and my partner would contribute 40% of their net pay: 1000*0.4 = 400.

    You could take it a step further and consider pensions in their income, but I think there comes a point where you need to appreciate you're in a relationship and not a business merger.
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  • JGB1955
    JGB1955 Posts: 3,428
    First Anniversary First Post Name Dropper
    We have had a joint (household bills) account for more than 45 years.  My husband pays a fixed sum into the account every month and it covers all day-to-day house expenses. 

    We have also held personal sole accounts (with different institutions) for our salaries/pensions etc etc, since our school leaving days.  Currently I pay for groceries and holidays.

    The 'balance' of responsibility has changed over the years as I moved from career Civil Servant, to stay at home mum, to part-time LA worker.  If we go out for a meal or drink, he pays.  We pay for our own cars and have our own credit cards.  We each have our own stocks and shares and savings accounts.

    It works for us, but some friends seem to be financially joined at the hip....that definitely isn't our preference, despite the 'for richer or poorer' in our wedding vows!
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