A divorce is usually a tumultuous time in a person’s life, and it can cause people to act based on their emotions. One trigger impulse we see often is the movement of funds from one account to another. Perhaps you are trying to protect money from being spent by the other party, trying to divide the money based on what you think is fair, or simply trying to hide money before you have to disclose it to a judge.
All three options are a bad idea. At the start of any divorce case, an automatic “stay” is placed on all financial accounts. In other words, you are not supposed to move any money around until a judge can classify the funds as either marital or non-marital, and allocate them accordingly. Furthermore, if you have moved money around prior to the filing of any divorce case, you will still need to disclose that to the judge and the judge will decide if the money is in fact yours (non-marital) or if its marital.
In most divorce cases, the parties go through a discovery process where they exchange financial information including bank statements. If there has been a lot of movement of funds, an attorney will likely want to see exact statements and may even subpoena your bank. The statements will clearly show when the money was withdrawn or transferred. As a result, it is hard to hide the movements of funds.
In all three scenarios, the money will be accounted for in some way or another, and the judge will include those funds as part of the division of assets. If, however, you are the party that finds out about the movement of funds, it is important that you file a motion in court to restrain your spouse from transferring any more funds around.