Skip to main content

What are a wife's rights to money that is held separately in her husband's own account?

Charlotte, NC |

If a couple are married living in NC and currently have joint checking and savings accounts with an on-line bank that is in VA and the husband just opened a new checking and savings accounts in his name only with a payable on death beneficiary to his wife then if they get divorced does his wife get any of the money he has in the new accounts?

He works for an organization and they did direct deposit into the joint account but now into his single account and he receives a 1099 from this organization for taxes. His wife does not work.

Attorney Answers 3


  1. If the money in that account was earned during marriage and deposited prior to the date of separation it is marital property under North Carolina and therefore subject to being divided by the court. In other words, from the facts as you outline them, it would appear that each party has a marital interest in the account. A central point of North Carolina equitable distribution law is that the title on the property is not the most relevant issue, it is the nature of when and how the asset was acquired.

    LEGAL DISCLAIMER: SCOTT ALLEN IS LICENSED ONLY IN THE STATE OF NORTH CAROLINA. THIS RESPONSE DOES NOT CONSTITUTE LEGAL ADVICE AND DOES NOT CREATE AN ATTORNEY/ CLIENT RELATIONSHIP. RATHER, THE RESPONSE IS IN THE FORM OF LEGAL EDUCATION AND IS INTENDED TO PROVIDE GENERAL INFORMATION ABOUT THE MATTER IN QUESTION. ALTHOUGH A RESPONSE IS PROVIDED TO THE SPECIFIC QUESTION, THERE MAY BE OTHER FACTS AND LAW RELEVANT TO THE ISSUE THAT THE QUESTIONER HAS LEFT OUT AND WHICH WOULD MAKE THE REPLY UNSUITABLE. THEREFORE, THE QUESTIONER SHOULD NOT BASE ANY DECISION ON THE ANSWER, BUT SHOULD CONFER WITH AN ATTORNEY IN PERSON ABOUT THE SPECIFICS OF HIS OR HER CASE


  2. Sorry to hear that you are going through this. If the money was deposited into the the account during the marriage and it is considered marital property then it should be equitably divided. Take care and good luck, Happy Thanksgiving.

    Legal disclaimer: The response given is not intended to create, nor does it create an ongoing duty to respond to questions. The response does not form an attorney-client relationship, nor is it intended to be anything other than the educated opinion of the author. It should not be relied upon as legal advice. The response given is based upon the limited facts provided by the person asking the question. To the extent additional or different facts exist, the response might possibly change. Attorney is licensed to practice law only in the State of Massachusetts. Responses are based solely on Massachusetts law unless stated otherwise.


  3. Where the money is located and whose name is on the account are not the important factors. When the money was received and for what -- that's what matters.

Divorce topics

Top tips from attorneys

What others are asking

Can't find what you're looking for?

Post a free question on our public forum.

Ask a Question

- or -

Search for lawyers by reviews and ratings.

Find a Lawyer

Browse all legal topics