Deleting accounts and resolving existing balances

Bill Wohler wohler at
Thu Aug 25 14:52:04 EDT 2005

Dave Anderson <dwanderso at> writes:

> Here's a good one for you guys.  My wife and I are divorcing (friendly
> divorce on very good terms).  We had shared credit cards.  There are
> some cards that I'm taking the debt on and some that she's taking the
> debt on.  I had all of these entered into GNUCash and would enter in the
> finance charges and what not each month.  For the cards she's taking
> over, how should I 'get them out of' GnuCash?


When I divorced, I initially left the shared accounts alone. The next
year, I exported the account tree (see File > Export > Export
Accounts), deleted the shared accounts in the new file, and started
working in the new file. I initialized all the balances from Equity >
Opening Balances as you normally do with new files; I also copied the
unreconciled transactions by hand (sigh). This did an excellent job of
cleaning out the shared accounts (in the new file) while preserving
the old transactions (in the old file).

While I just let the sleeping dogs lie, you could zero the balance via
a transfer to an equity account as it has been suggested by others.

Alternatively, you could *move* the credit card account under the
Equity tree. This is what I do for obsolete accounts. You'll likely
need to change the account type to Equity when you reparent it in the
Edit Account dialog. I'm not sure if this is a good accounting
practice, but it works for me.

OT: One thing I learned from all of this is that a) I'm never getting
married again ;-) and b) I'll never co-mingle assets again either.

Bill Wohler <wohler at>  GnuPG ID:610BD9AD
Maintainer of FAQ and MH-E. Vote Libertarian!
If you're passed on the right, you're in the wrong lane.

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