What to do if my husband and I are separated but I used his checking account to pay a bill even though I am not on it and now he’s saying he is pressing charges and so is the bank?

There has not been a suit divorce filed as of yet. We live in a community property state and I was under the understanding that I could do that.

Asked on July 30, 2015 under Family Law, Texas


B.H.F., Member, Texas State Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

You're in a community property state.  This means that anything in the account is partially yours. 

With those factors in mind, you cannot be prosecuted for theft... because it's only against the law to steal someone else's property, not something that you have partial ownership in.

You can't be charged with unlawful access if he had given you the password to access the account.

The only potential charge that you could face is forgery if you signed his name to a check.  This type of charge will be accepted by some prosecutors and rejected by others.  The ones who will accept the charges believe there is intent to harm, even when someone uses their own funds.  The prosecutors who will reject the charges believe that matters of the division of community estate are best left to the divorce courts.  I know this part of the answer is not as specific as you would hope, but the problem is that it is not consistently applied.  If you want to know how the prosecutors in your jurisdiction lean on this issue, then set up a consultation with a local defense attorney to get a better feel of how your case could be handled.

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