My husband is in jail in California. What are my rights to bank accounts?

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My husband is in jail in California. What are my rights to bank accounts?

My husband was sentenced to state prison in CA. We are recently married. What are my rights as his wife to bank accounts and automobiles? My name is not on any paperwork.

Asked on April 12, 2009 under Family Law, California

Answers:

MD, Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 12 years ago | Contributor

Depends.  Were these acquired prior to marriage? How much in the account was prior to marriage?Is it an interest bearing account? Are you separated (i.e., you don't intend to continue the marriage)?

Read below and then consult with your attorney about possibly having transfer title to both of you (i.e., joint tenants with right of survivorship).

FAMILY.CODE
SECTION 750-755

 

750.  A husband and wife may hold property as joint tenants ortenants in common, or as community property, or as community propertywith a right of survivorship.751.  The respective interests of the husband and wife in communityproperty during continuance of the marriage relation are present,existing, and equal interests.752.  Except as otherwise provided by statute, neither husband norwife has any interest in the separate property of the other.753.  Notwithstanding Section 752 and except as provided in Article2 (commencing with Section 2045), Article 3 (commencing with Section2047), or Article 4 (commencing with Section 2049) of Chapter 4 ofPart 1 of Division 6, neither spouse may be excluded from the other'sdwelling.754.  If notice of the pendency of a proceeding for dissolution ofthe marriage, for nullity of the marriage, or for legal separation ofthe parties is recorded in any county in which the husband or wiferesides on real property that is the separate property of the other,the real property shall not for a period of three months thereafterbe transferred, encumbered, or otherwise disposed of voluntarily orinvoluntarily without the joinder of both spouses, unless the courtotherwise orders.755.  (a) The terms "participant," "beneficiary," "employer,""employee organization," "named fiduciary," "fiduciary," and"administrator," as used in subdivision (b), have the same meaning asprovided in Section 3 of the Employee Retirement Income Security Actof 1974 (P.L. 93-406) (ERISA), as amended (29 U.S.C.A. Sec.  1002).The term "employee benefit plan" has the same meaning as provided inSection 80 of this code.  The term "trustee" shall include a "namedfiduciary" as that term is employed in ERISA.  The term "plan sponsor"shall include an "employer" or "employee organization," as thoseterms are used in ERISA (29 U.S.C.A. Sec. 1002).   (b) Notwithstanding Sections 751 and 1100, if payment or refund ismade to a participant or the participant's, employee's, or formeremployee's beneficiary or estate pursuant to an employee benefit planincluding a plan governed by the Employee Retirement Income SecurityAct of 1974 (P.L.  93-406), as amended, the payment or refund fullydischarges the plan sponsor and the administrator, trustee, orinsurance company making the payment or refund from all adverseclaims thereto unless, before the payment or refund is made, the plansponsor or the administrator of the plan has received written noticeby or on behalf of some other person that the other person claims tobe entitled to the payment or refund or some part thereof.  Nothingin this section affects or releases the participant from claims whichmay exist against the participant by a person other than the plansponsor, trustee, administrator, or other person making the benefitpayment.

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