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Leon
Leon, Solicitor
Category: Australia Law
Satisfied Customers: 43938
Experience:  BEc Dip Ed, Dip Law (SAB) MTax (UNSW)
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I gave my wife of 8 years one of my ATM cards (to an offset

Customer Question

I gave my wife of 8 years one of my ATM cards (to an offset loan account I have) to use for expenses (shopping etc.) and she also uses my Paypal account. Before this I used to pay for her expenses myself and give her cash to use.
In the last 6 months she has withdrawn $20,000 cash ($600-$900 a week) which I only recently discovered. This is additional to all the other expenses she has where she uses the card to make direct payments on such as food etc. I bought her a car last year and various things she wanted - books, clothes etc. so I have been generous. She is studying at Uni so has no income. I pay all the bills and all other expenses myself.
I asked her to stop taking out so much cash - which she deposits into another account of hers - because I cannot afford it. She said no, it's her money and she has a right to it??? I said I'll cancel the card or that she must give it back to me and I'll give her another with a limited amount in the account. Putting a limit on withdrawals won't help because she could still do it repeatedly. She said if I cancel the card she will kill me - probably an exaggeration but still a very scary threat - she will probably find a way to retaliate if I do cancel the card however, so I am quite worried.
We have two 7 year old twin boys who I would hate to leave at her mercy if she leaves me - although I assume she's planning to do this and is taking the money to finance it, although - I don't think she's really intending to leave because I think she'd rather wait till I die and inherit everything - I am an Australian, 68 years old and a successful artist - she's 42 and Chinese.
I want to keep the family together as long as possible for the kids sake - important because she has anger management problems and the kids are afraid of her - she punishes them by hitting them with a stick on the hand or locking them in the yard sometimes. I am the opposite - compassionate - take them to school, to swimming, to piano, to play dates etc. - all of which she refuses to do although she does love them sincerely- she just has outdated ideas and is culturally different.
What can I do? Cancel the card and prepare for the retaliation? Should I contact the police first and tell them about the death threat? Which might unfortunaltely escalate things to a new level.We've had a bit of trouble in the past, one time she called the police after I said that I would call them after she attacked me quite viciously - she got in first and lied to them with a kind of fake hysteria. They didn't charge her. I have never hit her - but she's hit me, bitten me, thrown a knife at me, destroyed property such as a TV, a computer etc. I managed to stop these violent outbursts, which were entirely unwarranted by leaving the house as soon as she got angry, but now she's stealing my money insted. She has her own ATM card now as well and the money she took from me, but wants more.
What can I do, what should I do?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Australia Law
Expert:  Leon replied 1 year ago.

Good Morning.

My name is ***** ***** I am a NSW Solicitor. Thank you for your question, and will do my best to assist you with your question. Please understand this is not legal advise Please understand this is not legal advise but a guide to assist you.

Your actions giving her access means that you cannot report this to the police.

I would suggest you cancel the card or at the very lease reduce the amount in the account so she does not have access to all the money.

If she has an anger management problem and has threatened you in the past I would suggest you report all this to the police.

I would take control of your finances and stop her having access.

I hope this makes sense and is of assistance. If there is nothing further

thank you for using my services.

If I have missed anything, or you have any further questions please let me know

If there is anything else in the future please do not hesitate to ask.

Please do not forget to leave positive feedback.

Regards

Leon

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thanks Leon,
That's very helpful. Without questioning the accuracy of your reply, I have to ask, why does giving her access to the card mean that she can take out $20,000 cash and deposit it onto her own account, which is clearly not what it was intended for? I made it clear that the card was for expenses like shopping and petrol etc. For example if I give someone access to my house it doesn't mean that they can take whatever they want. Or if she was say my employee and I gave her access to funds to use in the job and she took 10 times more than necessary and deposited it into her own account it would be theft wouldn't it? Does her being my wife make it legal? You could say I am responsible because I gave her the card, but shared accounts are common. She's obviously doing the wrong thing, so why not in the eyes of the law?
Thanks again, Tim
Expert:  Leon replied 1 year ago.

Good Morning,

You have allowed her access to your account. She can take what she wants. If you had $100,000 in the account you give her acess to the lot.

You should not have allowed her access to your account.

Access to an account means free access your intentions may be that she not take it but giving a person free reign they can take what they want this is always the fear.

Because you gave her the card and a pin you authorised access and it is not theft

Morally wrong does not mean illegal. You allowed her access. She had your authority to access the account.

Sorry I could not give you anything more positive.

I hope this makes sense and is of assistance. If there is nothing further

thank you for using my services.

If I have missed anything, or you have any further questions please let me know

If there is anything else in the future please do not hesitate to ask.

Please do not forget to leave positive feedback.

Regards

Leon