If my son and his wife are separated, can she take money from his account without consulting him?

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If my son and his wife are separated, can she take money from his account without consulting him?

My son’s wife got an on-line separation. She used my son’s account to do it without his knowledge. She has forged his name on checks for her personal use and has paid off her old debts using his banking information without his consent.

Asked on March 17, 2011 under Family Law, Rhode Island

Answers:

Denise Ferguson / Denise Ferguson Attorney At Law

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Was the separation a court ordered separation? If so, what does the separation state regarding you son's account? Was the wife a signatory on the account? Did she have permission to draw funds from said account? These are issues that must be confronted.

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Is the wife still a signatory on the account or otherwise has authority over it? If she does, then it is legal for her to take money from it; if, however, she is not on the account, then it is not legal for her to take the money out, and this would be the case whether they were not separated or not--i.e. only persons on an account, regardless of marital or family status, or who have a valid ground of authority from an account holder, can withdraw money from it. Of course, suing a spouse is problematic; if they are separating, the better course might to be seek a divorce and bring up this behavior and the amounts taken during the divorce, where they could be taken into account in distributing assets and/or settign support and child custody (if any) levels. You son should probably consult with a family or divorce law attorney, to see what his options and best recourse are.


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