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What to do if one spouse makes unusual financial decisions

For some people in Illinois, a spouse's unusual financial activity might suggest that he or she is considering divorce. One man's wife took $40,000 she received after being let go from a job and $90,000 that the couple received after selling their home and put it in an account in her name only. She ignored her husband's request that the account be retitled in both their names or that the money be moved back into their joint account. While her husband had his pay deposited into the couple's joint account, she transferred money in to pay bills.

Someone might do this if his or her spouse is irresponsible with money. However, it might also be a sign that he or she is preparing to file for divorce.

In such a situation, the other person might want to document any communication about the money. He or she also might want to speak to the bank or other financial institutions about how the money might be retrieved. A consultation with an attorney might also be helpful. If the couple did get a divorce, it would be unlikely that the wife would be allowed to keep all the money. The money from the house would probably be considered shared marital property.

Generally, property that is shared marital property should be divided equitably. This gives the couple or a judge some flexibility when deciding how to divide assets and debts. For example, one person might want to keep a retirement account while the other person might want to keep the home. However, it is important in these negotiations that the people understand the financial implications of these decisions. Maintenance costs might lower the value of a home, but taxes may reduce the value of a retirement account. A person may want to discuss divorce and financial goals with an attorney before negotiation or litigation begins.

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