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How is it viewed if one party empties joint-accounts while seeking a TRO

San Jose, CA |

I recently found that my wife had liquidated our accounts while at the same time filing a TRO against me. The hearing appears to be in 3 weeks based on the information I have seen on the court website though I have not been served. Do I have any recourse?

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Attorney answers 3


Disclaimer: The materials provided below are informational and should not be relied upon as legal advice.

Am I correct to understand you are still married to your wife, and the accounts you reference are under both of your names? If so, she did not have the right to take the account funds without your consent. You should immediately bring an action against her and seek court injunctions. As to the TRO, you need to timely file your opposition papers. Be sure to consult your own attorney to protect your legal rights.


This is a very odd sounding situation if you two are still together. However, it is something you can raise at the hearing. It may not be considered then, but not bringing it up at the hearing is not a good idea.

For something like this, I would strongly recommend that you get a lawyer involved. You need to talk to someone who is willing to listen and ask the right questions so that they are able to best advise you as to what to do.

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Our office has maintained a family law practice in Alameda County, Contra Costa and Santa Clara County for the past 31 years. I have represented several thousand of individuals in family law matters.

This is not as unusual as you would think it would be. Especially in situations where one party has control of most of the community assets and the other party is unemployed or has no income. On that basis, the party with no income frequently does raid the community bank accounts. If she actually filed a Summons and Petition for Dissolution, this action would be inappropriate because there are temporary restraining orders that are contained in the language on the Summons. If she was smart or her attorney knows what he or she was doing, they would have advised her to empty the accounts before filing the Petition for Dissolution and issuing the Summons. In either event, it is most probable that once your attorney gets you into court, that the judge will order the funds split so it would equally benefit both of you instead of one exclusively. In any event, post separation expenditures by her, she will be held exclusively responsible for. To protect yourself before you get served, if there are any other accounts or stock accounts or anything else you have control over, take them out of both of your names and put them exclusively into your name.

If you wish to retain the legal services of our office, please do not hesitate to contact our office.

I hope this is helpful.

John N. Kitta
(510) 797-7990

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