Last September, we received our federal joint tax refund in the mail via a check for $1800.00. My husband was working out of town at the time, so I signed both our names on the back of the check and deposited $1500.00 of it into our joint account, taking out the other $300.00 in cash. Now 7 months later, we are divorcing and he is trying to get me in trouble for forging his name to the check. Can he use this against me, as it was deposited into our joint account and I only kept out a small portion of it?
Divorce / Separation Lawyer
Technically, it might have been a violation for you to sign his name, but I would focus on generating a past "accounting" of where the $1,800.00 went. If you can prove via bank statements and receipts that the money all went to "marital expenses" (as opposed to a fur coat for yourself or gambling, or something like that), that will help you in the Family Court. If you are formally charged by the prosecutor with check fraud (based on a complaint by your husband to the police), I would strongly recommend you ASAP retain a Grand Rapids-area Criminal Defense attorney to protect you. All my best, Matt Catchick.
It will come down to your intent. That is, if your husband intructs you to sign his name and has full knowledge of the transaction it is not a forgery. But if you did this without his knowledge of the fact that you were keeping a portion for yourself then this may certainly be considered a crime or at least civilly actionable.
You should discuss this in detail with your own family lawyer which you should have if you are divorcing. You may want to reach out to a local lawyer here on Avvo which you can do by going to the 'find a lawyer" tab up top.
If this becomes a criminal matter, which I highly doubt, you should consult a local criminal lawyer ASAP.
Most of us here, including myself, offer a free phone consult.
The law firm of Natoli-Lapin, LLC (Home of Lantern Legal Services) offers our flat-rate legal services in the areas of business law and intellectual property to entrepreneurs, small-to-medium size businesses, independent inventors and artists across the nation and abroad. Feel free to call for a free phone consultation; your inquiries are always welcome: CONTACT: 866-871-8655 Support@LanternLegal.com DISCLAIMER: this is not intended to be specific legal advice and should not be relied upon as such. No attorney-client relationship is formed on the basis of this posting.