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Loren
Loren, Lawyer
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 29019
Experience:  Former administrative hearing officer
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My ex husband and I had two savings accounts two children at

Customer Question

Hi there,
My ex husband and I had two savings accounts for our two children at our local credit union, Whatcom Educational Credit Union (WECU). They were established prior to our divorce. They each had about $1,000 in them. We were both signers on the accounts, and both of us contributed a small amount each month that was transferred from our individual WECU accounts.Recently my mother asked the State of Washington to cash out the GET accounts she had for each child. For some strange reason, the checks (Each totalling just under $775) were mailed to the children at their father's address. Unbeknownst to her, at the beginning of May this year, my ex deposited the checks into the kids' accounts, and then withdrew all the money and closed the accounts. He did not consult me. Our verbal agreement had been that this money was for the kids to use when they go to college or some other educational endeavor.I discovered that this had happened because my mother had not received the checks from the GET accounts but had been told by the State of WA that they had been cashed. I looked at the kids' accounts and found out with help from WECU staff that it was my ex who had both deposited the checks and closed the accounts.I have not yet approached him about this. The kids do not know that their father has taken their savings (they are 12 and 16 years old). I would like your advice on how to proceed, how to get my mother's money back and to the boys, and how to get the boys' savings back.Please advise!
Submitted: 5 months ago.
Category: Criminal Law
Expert:  Loren replied 5 months ago.

Good morning. I am Loren, a licensed attorney, and I look forward to assisting you.

Were the accounts included in the property distribution of the divorce decree?

Customer: replied 5 months ago.
I just reread the divorce papers. We made no mention of the children's bank accounts. Our lawyers were not very detail oriented, in retrospect. It was an oversight (of many). As far as I know, there is just a verbal agreement. Another oversight, I am realizing now.
Expert:  Loren replied 5 months ago.

Thank you for the additional information. I am sorry to hear of your dilemma. I realize how frustrating this is for you and I hope to provide you information which is accurate and useful, even though it may not be the news you were hoping to get.

Unfortunately, if you were both on the accounts then he (or you) had he legal right to to access the account and withdraw the money, unless the account agreement contained some provision to the contrary, which does not appear to be the case here.

Speak with your ex and see if he can replace the money. If not, you may wan to file a motion to modify the decree to force the inclusion of the accounts and get a court order to replace the money. I see that as a longshot, but it may be the only option you have in the absence of any written agreement between the two of you concerning the account.

Expert:  Loren replied 5 months ago.

I realize this is probably not the answer you were hoping to receive. Also, please remember that this is not a moral judgement on my part. As a professional, however, I am sometimes placed in the position of having to deliver news which is not favorable to a customer's legal position, but accurately reflects their position under the law. I hate it, but it happens and I only ask that you not penalize me with a bad or poor rating for having to deliver less than favorable news.

Customer: replied 5 months ago.
Thank you for your help. Do you have any suggestions for how I should communicate with my ex. For instance, is email enough, or certified letter?
I think his wife reads and answers his emails on his behalf, for instance.
Expert:  Loren replied 5 months ago.

If you can speak directly, that is probably the best. Otherwise, email is fine.

Expert:  Loren replied 5 months ago.

You are very welcome. If you have no further questions, and have not yet done so, please remember to leave a favorable rating (Excellent or Good) so that I am credited by JustAnswer for assisting you. A bonus is not required, but is always appreciated.

Customer: replied 5 months ago.
Hi, can you clarify - does speaking cost an additional $59?
Expert:  Loren replied 5 months ago.

Yes, a telephone call is a premium service and is an extra charge.

Expert:  Loren replied 5 months ago.

Did you have further questions before you rate my service to you?

Customer: replied 5 months ago.
I do have further questions. I am wondering if we have any recourse on the checks that were sent to the wrong address, for the boys? My mother did not give out that address to the State of Washington, but they were sent there, which is why the boys' dad cashed them. That money was not rightfully his, and he did not know it was coming, but he cashed it anyway. Can we take him to small claims court around the checks or the money in the bank accounts? Does a verbal agreement count in a situation like this?
Customer: replied 5 months ago.
We think that the State of Washington sent them to his address because he has also established a GET account for one of the sons, presumably at his address.
Expert:  Loren replied 5 months ago.

You would need to find out why the checks were sent to the address. The verbal agreement may be enforceable, but it is going to be difficult to prove. Also, if the verbal agreement was unsupported by consideration, then it is not going to be enforced by a court, since it was just a gratuitous promise.

Expert:  Loren replied 5 months ago.

If you have no further questions, and have not yet done so, please remember to leave a favorable rating (Excellent or Good) so that I am credited by JustAnswer for assisting you. A bonus is not required, but is always appreciated.