I have been married to my husband for the past 15 years, but the last four months we have been separated. During that time he has closed out his retirement plan from work and has withdrawn all the funds out of that account, with severe penalties. I will be seeking the services of an attorney soon, but I’m wondering will I get my portion of the money from his retirement fund even though he has spent most of the money at this point? Also what about other money that we held jointly in bank accounts, he has withdrawn all that money and closed all the accounts. Will I still get my share of the money he is spent, even though he spent a while we were married?
The simple answer to your question is yes, you will be “awarded” your share of the marital assets during your divorce, even if he had spent the money already. With that being said, if you spent all the money and has no way to come up with your share, most likely the settlement of your divorce will include you receiving more assets than money. Family Court judges will certainly take this information into account when deciding the case. Obviously your husband’s intentions were fraudulent and in an attempt to keep you from obtaining your share of his retirement plan that was obtained during the time you were married. You do not have the right to the portion of his retirement plan that was funded prior to your marriage, and less you cohabited prior to your marriage. There are many factors that will determine what your share of marital assets, including retirement plans is. This is why it is important that you seek the advice of an experienced divorce lawyer, in order to get the portion of the marital funds that you are entitled to. As for any other money that he is spending prior to the divorce, most likely none of this has to do with the marital estate and he will have to pay it back. Unless he’s using the money to pay off debts that were both yours and his, this behavior will be seen as fraudulent in the eyes of the court and he will have to deal with the consequences once a divorce action has commenced. Basically he attempted to use self-help methods to keep you from obtaining a portion of the marital estate that you are entitled to in this behavior is severely frowned upon by the family courts.
Joseph F. Botelho, Esq.
BOTELHO LAW GROUP
Attorneys At Law
901 Eastern Ave.
Fall River, MA 02723
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