What can I do if my spouse and I have a joint bank account with money deposited as community property but he removed it without my knowledge?

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What can I do if my spouse and I have a joint bank account with money deposited as community property but he removed it without my knowledge?

Asked on June 18, 2012 under Family Law, California

Answers:

Cameron Norris, Esq. / Law Office of Gary W. Norris

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

You should look to California Family Code Section 721, which states each spouse has a fiduciary duty to the other.  The problem, as the previous answer points out, is that you have little redress unless you file for divorce.  There is no "breach of fiduciary duty" action between spouses on its own.  You have to seek reimbursement for the bank account in a divorce case.  Even then, only half of it is actually your community property, the other half belongs to your spouse.

However, if your spouse is removing bank accounts without your knowledge this may be a sign of more significant problems in the relationship.  You should consult with a marriage and family counselor and/or a family law attorney to explore the health of your relationship and your legal options.

Best of luck.  If you are in or near Ventura County feel free to contact me.

Brad Micklin / The Micklin Law Group

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Unfortunately, without filing a divorce case, there's not much you can do. If you jointly held a bank account then both of you had equal rights to take out all of the money at any time.

It may be considered an asset that is recoverable if you or your spouse file a divorce case in the very near future.  Otherwise, it may be gone forever.


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