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How to respond to a spouse's unexpected financial transactions

Some people in Pennsylvania might wonder whether a spouse who does something unusual financially might be considering filing for divorce. One husband and wife sold their home and got $90,000 from it. They also both lost their jobs and got around $40,000 each. Without telling her husband, the woman opened an account in her name and put money from the house and from her job into it. The husband demanded that she put the money back into a joint account or add him to the account, but she did not.

A person who believes the other spouse does not manage money well might do this. However, another possibility is that the person is getting ready to file for divorce.

A person whose spouse has made some unexpected financial transactions might want to document any communication about the accounts. The person might also want to consult an attorney and speak to the bank about how the money might be retrieved. In most cases, a court would not consider this money to belong to the individual who put it into the account. It is more likely that it would be considered joint marital property to be divided between the two.

In a high asset divorce, a person might make transactions such as these in an effort to hide assets. However, even if neither person intends to deliberately conceal assets, property division can be made more complex by property such as closely-held businesses, real estate holdings, investment portfolios and other assets. A couple might still be able to negotiate an agreement for property division even the finances are complex. The advantage of negotiation is that it allows the couple to shape the final outcome. If the case goes to litigation, they may have no control over the judge's decision and might both be dissatisfied.

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