Boerne, TX asked in Civil Litigation and Family Law for Texas

Q: I've been divorced for 4 years and i shared a joint account and forgot to close it and I forgot it was a joint account

, I never put any money in it until recently and my ex spouse withdrew all the money i deposited, can he do this and get away with it?

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1 Lawyer Answer
John Michael Frick
John Michael Frick
  • Frisco, TX
  • Licensed in Texas

A: If you deposited money into a joint account that properly belongs to you and your ex-husband withdrew that money, you likely have a claim for assumpsit (also sometimes called "money had and received") to get a judgment against your ex-husband for the money he withdrew.

The legal elements of such a claim are among the simplest in law: 1) the defendant (i.e. your ex) holds money, 2) that belongs to the plaintiff (i.e. you) in equity and good conscience.

Because you deposited the money into a joint account from which he has legal authority to withdraw funds, it is not a criminal matter, but a civil matter. Moreover, the bank simply honored your account agreement which it is legally required to do, so you have no claim against the bank. Your own negligence created the circumstances which required the bank to honor your account agreement and allow your ex-husband to withdraw the funds. But your negligence does not impact your claim against your ex-husband as he knew that money wasn't rightfully his when he withdrew it.

I highly recommend that you close that account and only deposit money into an account which is in your sole name in the future.

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