Written by attorney Dustin Michael Butler

Since separation my spouse took all the money from an account, can I do anything about it?

In a typical Florida divorce one of the major issues is “equitable distribution." In Florida equity generally means a 50/50 split. Although the courts do not have to evenly divide the property, the court must have legal justification for deviating from this standard.

In a recent case the Husband had used an investment account worth approximately $50,000 to live on during the divorce case. By the end of the case the account had no money left in it. In ordering the equitable distribution the trial court ordered that account credited to the Husband. However, the court did not make any provision for the fact that the Husband has literally spent the wife’s half of that account.

The appellate court reversed the trial court stating: “the trial court’s attempt to offset Dan’s unauthorized expenditure by awarding him the worthless account was insufficient because Dan spent Ava’s half of the TD Ameritrade proceeds." Absent specific statutory reasons to deviate from an equitable distribution the trial court must order a near even split of the assets and liabilities.

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