Q&A: My ex-wife lent my money to her boss. What can I do?

Dear Liz: I recently found out that my ex lent one of her former bosses $2,500 to get his brother out of jail on bond. My ex took the money out of a joint account that I had opened with the inheritance I got when my dad died. It’s now been four years and I haven’t received a penny of the loan back. I could really use the money now as I have medical bills to pay. Question is who do I go after? My ex or the boss?

Answer: You may have read in this column that inheritances can be kept as separate property, even in community property states where other assets acquired during marriage are generally considered jointly owned.

An inheritance can lose its status as separate property, however, if it’s commingled with joint funds. That’s what you did when you opened a joint account with the money: You gave your ex access to the funds.

You certainly can ask the ex and the boss to give the money back. You could try small claims court if that doesn’t work. You also could hire an attorney, but the costs of trying to get the loan repaid may well exceed the amount at stake.

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