What to do with children’s accounts and savings if you separate
Any money or savings in your child’s name belong to them and not to you or your ex-partner. But you may need to notify the bank, building society or the government about changes to your circumstances.
What counts as children’s accounts or savings?
Children’s accounts or savings include things like a bank or building society account in your child’s name, Child Trust Funds, Junior ISAs and National Savings and Investments Children’s Bonds.
Children’s accounts and jointly-held finances
Money in a child’s account belongs to the child. But be aware that some people pay money into a child’s account, without ever intending to pass it onto the child. Others take money from their child’s account.
If you’re getting divorced or dissolving your civil partnership, there are very limited circumstances when children’s savings may be included in the financial assets to be split. If, for example, your ex-husband, wife or civil partner deliberately put their own money into your child’s account to stop you getting it.
On the other hand, if you’re worried that your ex-partner may take money from your child’s account, ask the bank or building society to put a temporary freeze on the account. Take professional advice if you are unsure about what to do.
Telling the bank or building society you’ve changed address
Make sure you contact the provider of your child’s accounts, for example the bank or building society, if you’re the named contact on your child’s account and are moving address.
Likewise, if your child is old enough to run their account in their own name, make sure they tell the bank or building society their new address, if they are moving. They may be able to do this online or over the phone.
Changing the registered contact
You may decide that you would like to change the name of the person who is the registered contact. If you want to do this, you will normally have to ring the Child Trust Fund or Junior ISA provider, or fill in a ‘registered contact removal form’.
The process may vary from provider to provider, and both you and your ex-partner may have to sign the form to say you agree to the change.
Child Trust Funds
If your child was born between 1 September 2002 and 2 January 2011 they are likely to have a Child Trust Fund account. This is a long-term, tax-free savings account, where the government gave all children a voucher which they could pay into their account.
Although no new Child Trust Funds are being issued, the registered contact, other family members and friends can continue to add to the account until the child reaches 18.
For more information, see our guide on Child Trust Funds.
Junior ISAs have replaced Child Trust Funds, and they are available to children under the age of 18 who do not qualify for a Child Trust Fund. Like Child Trust Funds, they are long-term, tax-free savings accounts.
You can switch money between different Junior ISA providers. And, if your child has a Child Trust Fund, you can transfer the money into a Junior ISA from the 6th of April. The benefit of doing this is that some Junior ISA providers pay a higher interest rate than is available on Child Trust Funds.
For more information, see our guide on Junior ISAs.