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  1. #1

    Default Two Party Check Deposited into Account Without My Signature

    My question involves personal finance in the State of: TN

    In April my ex husband received a very large check from the foreclosure settlement. The check was written to him AND to me. I was not made aware of this check until this week. I found out that the check was deposited into his bank "for deposit only" and no forging was done. My signature was not on the check. How can a bank just deposit into his account without my signature. Does the bank have any responsibility for this? Is this a criminal act on his part?

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Two Party Check Deposited into Account Without My Signature

    I'll assume that this is not a joint account dating back to your marriage, and that you mean that the check explicitly used the word "and" between your names - if there's any ambiguity about whether one or both signatures are required, the bank can clear the check based on one signature.
    Quote Quoting Tennessee Code, Sec. 47-3-110. Identification of person to whom instrument is payable.
    (a) The person to whom an instrument is initially payable is determined by the intent of the person, whether or not authorized, signing as, or in the name or behalf of, the issuer of the instrument. The instrument is payable to the person intended by the signer even if that person is identified in the instrument by a name or other identification that is not that of the intended person. If more than one (1) person signs in the name or behalf of the issuer of an instrument and all the signers do not intend the same person as payee, the instrument is payable to any person intended by one (1) or more of the signers.

    (b) If the signature of the issuer of an instrument is made by automated means, such as a check-writing machine, the payee of the instrument is determined by the intent of the person who supplied the name or identification of the payee, whether or not authorized to do so.

    (c) A person to whom an instrument is payable may be identified in any way, including by name, identifying number, office, or account number. For the purpose of determining the holder of an instrument, the following rules apply:

    (1) If an instrument is payable to an account and the account is identified only by number, the instrument is payable to the person to whom the account is payable. If an instrument is payable to an account identified by number and by the name of a person, the instrument is payable to the named person, whether or not that person is the owner of the account identified by number.

    (2) If an instrument is payable to:

    (i) a trust, an estate, or a person described as trustee or representative of a trust or estate, the instrument is payable to the trustee, the representative, or a successor of either, whether or not the beneficiary or estate is also named;

    (ii) a person described as agent or similar representative of a named or identified person, the instrument is payable to the represented person, the representative, or a successor of the representative;

    (iii) a fund or organization that is not a legal entity, the instrument is payable to a representative of the members of the fund or organization; or

    (iv) an office or to a person described as holding an office, the instrument is payable to the named person, the incumbent of the office, or a successor to the incumbent.

    (d) If an instrument is payable to two (2) or more persons alternatively, it is payable to any of them and may be negotiated, discharged, or enforced by any or all of them in possession of the instrument. If an instrument is payable to two (2) or more persons not alternatively, it is payable to all of them and may be negotiated, discharged, or enforced only by all of them. If an instrument payable to two (2) or more persons is ambiguous as to whether it is payable to the persons alternatively, the instrument is payable to the persons alternatively.
    Had the teller been more astute, they might have caught that the check was made out to both of you and instructed your husband to get your signature.

    The first issue is whether you suffered any harm. If you were not entitled to any of the proceeds of the check, or if you have been reimbursed by your husband, you have no injury.

    You can contact the company that issued the check - if you act promptly they may be able to recall the money based upon the improper endorsement.

    To the extent that you have suffered harm, your primary recourse would be against your husband. He has the money - see if he'll give it to you. If your ex- has your money from the resoution of an asset that was part of the marital estate, the most expeditious path to getting the money is likely through the divorce court (I expect that this money is addressed in the divorce judgment - you can clarify). Taking legal action against the bank that cleared the check would be something I would do only if all else failed, as banks have lots of money for lawyers and, as your ex-husband received the money, they'll bring him into any lawsuit on that basis rendering the litigation more complex.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Two Party Check Deposited into Account Without My Signature

    We jointly owned a house back in 2008. We were part of the Foreclosure settlement that the big banks just paid out to customers for billions. We were both equally entitled to the money. The issuing bank said that there is no way he could deposit it without my signature since the check was written to both of us with the word AND. We are divorced and this was not part of a divorce settlement. He has his own account that he deposited the check into. I am entitled to the money. This was a very large sum of money and I have all rights to it according to the issuing company.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Two Party Check Deposited into Account Without My Signature

    Thanks for the explanation. Did you have a follow-up question, or are you good?

  5. #5

    Default Re: Two Party Check Deposited into Account Without My Signature

    I think I am good, do you think I have a good case for getting my ex to pay my share? Thank you for the help and quick response.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Two Party Check Deposited into Account Without My Signature

    The question of what "your share" happens to be is a civil matter, that turns on both the facts and the terms of your divorce judgment. If your ex- owes you money and won't pay, you can seek recourse under your divorce judgment (either a specific provision or a general propety division provision, if applicable) or through civil litigation. Note, if this money was addressed in your divorce, either directly or through a provision dictating the resolution of any property claims not specifically addressed, you would likely have to petition to recover the money through the divorce court. As the issues can be a bit tricky, and we don't have access to the judgment, I suggest consulting your divorce lawyer about the issue.

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