Q: My spouse and I married later in life.
We sold our homes in our respective states, combined our funds, and purchased a home in Tennessee. The remaining funds were placed in a bank account under my spouse's name. I had full access to that account using a password my spouse gave to me.Recently, my spouse changed the password and refused to grant me access to the bank account when I asked for the new password. Now, I no longer know how much we have to live on and this is a serious concern. My spouse has retired and does not work. With no visibility to the funds in that bank account, I have started working to ensure that there is money that I can access.
Since my spouse continues to refuse me access to the bank account, please let me know what my legal options are to access that portion of the funds in that bank account that are legally mine.
A: If the account was created after you got married, there is a high probability it will be considered "marital property" under Tennessee law. You need to obtain and retain the closing documents from the sale of your prior to show that you contributed to the account. You wife may try to testify that you were making a "gift" to her of these funds, but that seems unlikely since she permitted you joint access for some time period. The term "marital property" has a legal definition, and it is not determined by the name on the account. However, the bigger question for you to decide is whether you want to remain married to someone who would attempt to take advantage of you ( and your money) in this fashion. I strongly suggest you consult an experienced divorce lawyer soon.
Justia Ask a Lawyer is a forum for consumers to get answers to basic legal questions. Any information sent through Justia Ask a Lawyer is not secure and is done so on a non-confidential basis only.
The use of this website to ask questions or receive answers does not create an attorney–client relationship between you and Justia, or between you and any attorney who receives your information or responds to your questions, nor is it intended to create such a relationship. Additionally, no responses on this forum constitute legal advice, which must be tailored to the specific circumstances of each case. You should not act upon information provided in Justia Ask a Lawyer without seeking professional counsel from an attorney admitted or authorized to practice in your jurisdiction. Justia assumes no responsibility to any person who relies on information contained on or received through this site and disclaims all liability in respect to such information.
Justia cannot guarantee that the information on this website (including any legal information provided by an attorney through this service) is accurate, complete, or up-to-date. While we intend to make every attempt to keep the information on this site current, the owners of and contributors to this site make no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of the information contained in or linked to from this site.