Joint bank accounts & trust issues - Page 2 - Talk About Marriage
Financial Problems in Marriage When financial times are tough, it adds to the stress we deal with on a daily basis. This section is for talking about how financial problems affect our relationships and ways to cope.

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post #16 of 45 (permalink) Old 07-28-2016, 11:48 AM
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Re: Joint bank accounts & trust issues

While there are a lot of warning signs, its *possible* that it is completely innocent. I'd suggest that you not be confrontational, assume its innocent, but be very aware that it might not be.

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post #17 of 45 (permalink) Old 07-28-2016, 01:22 PM
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Re: Joint bank accounts & trust issues

When I see threads like this, I have to ask myself, "Why would I squirrel away thousands of dollars and not let my spouse know?" Why do you hide anything from your spouse? Usually because either you are embarrassed about it or you don't want them to find it.

Just to get higher interest is crap, why would you split your money in different investments when the growth rate would be higher with more money in the higher interest investment? Sure, don't put all your eggs in one basket, but just because she didn't want to get your signature is a stretch.

To answer your question OP, yes I would be concerned based on what you have presented. How you move forward is up to you. But I would recommend more of a stealth approach till you know a little more. Try to get her to add your name to the account and see what happens. While in the mean time, start to pay attention to your joint account and see where the funds are going. I would start planning that she is going to leave you in the future based on what little you have written. Worst thing that happens is you get ready and she does nothing. Don't ignore the signs and your gut instinct or let her blow you off with ridiculous excuses. Your gut is usually right.

I learned my lesson from my first marriage about letting my spouse run all the finances. I will never have only a joint bank account again.
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post #18 of 45 (permalink) Old 07-28-2016, 01:42 PM
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Re: Joint bank accounts & trust issues

Get all of your banking records going back as many years as you can get and study them.

I've done forensic accounting for several divorces. It is not usually where one spouse handles all the money and eventually starts moving money into their own name. They can do it because no one is paying attention.

In one situation, the wife was going to the grocery store, Target, etc a few times a day. Each time she was spending a minimum of $60. So I had the guy go through her purse, the trash and her receipt pile. It turned out that with each purchase she was pulling out more cash than she was spending on food items. For example she'd buy $10 in groceries and take out $60 cash. Over their 20 year marriage she handled all the finances and was able to move more than $100K that way into her name only. That's what I found. I have no doubt that there was more that I did not find because there was incomplete evidence of more.

In a marriage, both parties need to be involved in all finances. This is why.
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post #19 of 45 (permalink) Old 07-28-2016, 01:46 PM
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Re: Joint bank accounts & trust issues

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Get all of your banking records going back as many years as you can get and study them.

I've done forensic accounting for several divorces. It is not usually where one spouse handles all the money and eventually starts moving money into their own name. They can do it because no one is paying attention.

In one situation, the wife was going to the grocery store, Target, etc a few times a day. Each time she was spending a minimum of $60. So I had the guy go through her purse, the trash and her receipt pile. It turned out that with each purchase she was pulling out more cash than she was spending on food items. For example she'd buy $10 in groceries and take out $60 cash. Over their 20 year marriage she handled all the finances and was able to move more than $100K that way into her name only. That's what I found. I have no doubt that there was more that I did not find because there was incomplete evidence of more.

In a marriage, both parties need to be involved in all finances. This is why.
your story blew me away, that is seriously messed up
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post #20 of 45 (permalink) Old 07-28-2016, 02:02 PM
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Re: Joint bank accounts & trust issues

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When we got married, my wife and I set up a single, joint bank account into which all our money goes. There are no individual accounts. Years later, Iíve discovered she has withdrawn thousands of dollars from this joint bank account, and deposited it into an interest bearing deposit in her own name only. She didnít tell me about this. When I asked her for an explanation, she told me she did it to earn higher interest, and that she put it solely in her name so she wouldnít have to go to the trouble of getting my signature. Weíve taken out a number of such investments before, always in joint names. On no previous occasion have we done so without consulting.
Yes, this is a HUGE red flag. You know it is. Deal with it asap. Freeze any joint accounts with large sums until this is sorted out.

I don't want to even guess the various scenarios this could be foretelling. Just deal with the finance issue asap.

fwiw, my H and I have separate bank and investment accounts. Largely for professional liability reasons in case one of us ever is successfully sued we don't keep our eggs in one basket. We sit down every month and compare where we are and my H keeps track of it all in a spreadsheet. He could access my account, but frankly doesn't bother. I don't open his mail but that's mostly b/c I already know what it is. I leave my investment statements open for him to glance at so he knows where we're at. It's about trust and being trustworthy. Right now, your wife has given you reason to doubt her trustworthiness.

Good luck.
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post #21 of 45 (permalink) Old 07-28-2016, 02:29 PM
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Re: Joint bank accounts & trust issues

Don't we always tell people, especially women, who want to get a divorce to start putting money away? I've seen people get told that they should always have their OWN money in the event that the marriage dissolves for whatever reason, even when there's nothing wrong in the marriage.

Could be totally innocent, or could be the beginning of the end. I agree that you should start with telling her to go with you to the bank and get your name on that account and see what she does. Notice I said TELLING, not asking.
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post #22 of 45 (permalink) Old 07-28-2016, 02:35 PM
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Re: Joint bank accounts & trust issues

Are you in a community property state? If not, she may be able to keep all the money she set aside for herself, if you are unable to get your name on the account. If you are, half of that money belongs to you.
It is important to keep track of your money, whether someone else is managing it or not and whether you trust them or not.

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post #23 of 45 (permalink) Old 07-28-2016, 02:37 PM
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Re: Joint bank accounts & trust issues

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Don't we always tell people, especially women, who want to get a divorce to start putting money away? I've seen people get told that they should always have their OWN money in the event that the marriage dissolves for whatever reason, even when there's nothing wrong in the marriage.

Could be totally innocent, or could be the beginning of the end. I agree that you should start with telling her to go with you to the bank and get your name on that account and see what she does. Notice I said TELLING, not asking.
Yes, we do tell people, especially women who have no source of income and are in a bad situation, to make sure that they put some money aside in their own name.

The issue is why is it done, how it's done and the impact it has on martial financial well being.
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post #24 of 45 (permalink) Old 07-28-2016, 02:42 PM
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Re: Joint bank accounts & trust issues

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Are you in a community property state? If not, she may be able to keep all the money she set aside for herself, if you are unable to get your name on the account. If you are, half of that money belongs to you.

It is important to keep track of your money, whether someone else is managing it or not and whether you trust them or not.
This is true.

I some states, if the account is in her name, it belongs to her and he has no right to the money. But, in this case, if he can show money moving directly from their joint account into her account, thus proving the origin of the money to be partial assets/income then he can most likely get the court to award him 50% of the money. Paper trails are very important.

With the couple I talked about, they live in California, so it is a community property state. But the way she moved the money was an attempt to have no paper trail. She also had the account hidden and all paperwork went to her parent's home. She was clearly trying to steal money from the marital community. With no paper trail from one account to another, those receipts with the constant cash withdrawals became very important. It proved misuse of marital funds and an attempt to steal from the marital assets.
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post #25 of 45 (permalink) Old 07-28-2016, 02:50 PM
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Re: Joint bank accounts & trust issues

This is precisely the issue that got us started off on the wrong foot after we got married. Only she wasn't sneeky about it at all, she just spent everything that wasn't nailed down. I soon found myself not being able to pay bills and bouncing practically every check I wrote.

This is definitely something that you will have to address immediately. Your wife isn't trying to be nice and get a higher interest rate on your money. That's plain bull****. She's basically trying to rob you. Money and trust are two of the most important things in a marriage and you are demonstrating that you have neither. I think that you will find that the only way to solve this is separate accounts.


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post #26 of 45 (permalink) Old 07-28-2016, 03:08 PM
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Re: Joint bank accounts & trust issues

The why doesn't matter, only that the behaviour is unacceptable to him. There are many reasons a spouse might hide money. Preparing for divorce is only one. IMO, he should to address the behaviour first, stop the bleeding, and then figure out the rest.
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post #27 of 45 (permalink) Old 07-28-2016, 06:30 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Joint bank accounts & trust issues

True, none of my wife's explanation actually makes sense to me. As you say, how much trouble is it to shove a piece of paper under my nose and say "sign here"?

I really appreciate everyone's thoughts on this. I'm glad to know the consensus seems to be there is cause for concern, I wouldn't like to think I was being paranoid.
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post #28 of 45 (permalink) Old 07-28-2016, 06:41 PM
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Re: Joint bank accounts & trust issues

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True, none of my wife's explanation actually makes sense to me. As you say, how much trouble is it to shove a piece of paper under my nose and say "sign here"?
Most banks would require that you go into the bank, with your ID, and sign the signature card and other bank documents at the bank while they witness the signature(s).

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I really appreciate everyone's thoughts on this. I'm glad to know the consensus seems to be there is cause for concern, I wouldn't like to think I was being paranoid.
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post #29 of 45 (permalink) Old 07-28-2016, 06:49 PM
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Re: Joint bank accounts & trust issues

I once cashed a large amount of our investments out of the market about a month before there was a major correction. I had been considering for a while but made the order quickly while my H was away travelling.

The difference between your situation and mine is that I informed my H immediately what I had done, and why. Obviously, a month later he was delighted I had done so.

Your situation lacks the transparency that is healthy for a trusting relationship. Think hard about how you want to raise this with her before acting. Right now, surprise is on your side.
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post #30 of 45 (permalink) Old 07-28-2016, 07:01 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Joint bank accounts & trust issues

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I once cashed a large amount of our investments out of the market about a month before there was a major correction. I had been considering for a while but made the order quickly while my H was away travelling.

The difference between your situation and mine is that I informed my H immediately what I had done, and why. Obviously, a month later he was delighted I had done so.

Your situation lacks the transparency that is healthy for a trusting relationship. Think hard about how you want to raise this with her before acting. Right now, surprise is on your side.
Yes, it's the "forgetting to mention" part that I find most hard to swallow.
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