Dividing Joint Bank Accounts in Divorce Proceedings
Joint bank accounts can create their own unique issues when dividing cash
accounts established during the marriage. While section 5305 creates a
presumption that the "net contributions" from each spouse to
"multiple party" checking accounts, savings accounts, or other
forms of joint institutional accounts
are community property, to the extent that such contributions cannot be adequately
traced to separate property sources (like an inheritance) or that there is an
independent written agreement that shows the separate property nature
of deposits was waived.
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CALIFORNIA PROBATE CODE
OWNERSHIP BETWEEN PARTIES AND THEIR CREDITORS AND SUCCESSORS
Probate Code Section 5305
(a) Notwithstanding Sections 5301 to 5303, inclusive, if parties to an
account are married to each other, whether or not they are so described
in the deposit agreement, their net contribution to the account is presumed
to be and remain their community property.
(b) Notwithstanding Sections
2640 of the Family Code, the presumption established by this section is a presumption
affecting the burden of proof and may be rebutted by proof of either of
(1) The sums on deposit that are claimed to be separate property can be
traced from separate property unless it is proved that the married persons
made a written agreement that expressed their clear intent that the sums
be their community property.
(2) The married persons made a written agreement, separate from the deposit
agreement, that expressly provided that the sums on deposit, claimed not
to be community property, were not to be community property.
(c) Except as provided in Section 5307, a right of survivorship arising
from the express terms of the account or under Section 5302, a beneficiary
designation in a Totten trust account, or a P.O.D. payee designation,
may not be changed by will.
(d) Except as provided in subdivisions (b) and (c), a multiple-party account
created with community property funds does not in any way alter community