I am filing for Divorce. Come to find out Husband's parents have set up a custodial UTMA account for our kids' education. Unbeknownst to me, Husband has been depositing funds into that account from his personal account where his payroll check goes and I have no access to. I don't have any info on UTMA account, just know it exists.
1. How will the funds transferred by Husb into UTMA acct be treated in divorce proceedings?
2. How can this account be found should he try to hide it if it's under his parents' names?
There are many aspects that apply to this sort of behavior.
1. Possible violation of the ATROs under FC 230.
2. A possible breach of fiduciary duty under FC 720 and FC 1100.
3. Community funds retain their character as community property even if put in account in the name of a child or other person.
4. Depending on how much you want to spend, you could join the grandparents to the case as they are effectively controlling community property or alternatively, if you know how much was transferred, ask that this sum be charged to the husband.
These are trial issues - so I doubt that a court would look into this at a RFO hearing. These are just some thoughts.
You could also subpoena the UTMA account and look at the transaction history and compare those with withdrawals from your own accounts, or wherever the sums came from.
What I am pointing out, is that you can do a lot or a little. What matters is your goal. Further it is not worth spending more than it is worth.
This is community property. You can locate it by discovery.
I'm having trouble seeing this as entirely treacherous.
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It sounds like you haven't yet filed your divorce petition, If that's so, then the only wrong your husband has committed is not telling you about the account. Tell him you know about the account, tell him that you are going to file for divorce and ask him to stop depositing money into to account until your and his attorneys can resolve the issue.
Look at the bright side of things, the money has been set aside for your children's education. He has not been spending it at the track or local tavern.
You should file your petition for dissolution of marriage or legal separation right away and have your husband served. Once this occurs, there are Automatic Temporary Restraining Orders that go into affect (ATROS) that will restrain him from making any big financial changes such as removing you from an insurance policy or closing financial accounts. In your dissolution proceeding you will each be required to disclose all of your assets and debts, as well as your income, to one another. Since you know enough about this account to track it down there isn't a huge risk for non-disclosure. However, you will want to comb through his account statements to ensure he wasn't diverting money anywhere else either.
In addition, a spouse may be required to reimburse the community (i.e. you and your spouse as a joint financial entity) for the misuse of community assets if you can prove that the educational fund deposits were a misuse. This may be difficult to do in light of the fact that they are your children together, i'm assuming, but if the amounts were very substantial and appear to be a diversion of funds then it is possible. I would consult with a family law attorney in person who has all the facts before moving forward.
Good luck to you.
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