Can my ex-wife court order me to endorse a check over to her for an investment that we started while we were still married?

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Can my ex-wife court order me to endorse a check over to her for an investment that we started while we were still married?

Prior to our marriage, my ex-wife started an investment account. During our marriage, she cashed out of that account and started a joint account with me using only that money. Her argument is that was started with funds prior to our marriage and I don’t have a right to it. Is she correct? Both of our names are on the account.

Asked on August 12, 2011 Wisconsin

Answers:

MD, Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

She is incorrect. If this money was taken out of her separate property investment account (prior to marriage) and then placed into a joint account with you during marriage and that money was used or accrued interest during marriage, there is nothing you owe her. That account will be divided according to your state's marital asset and debt distribution laws (so either equitable distribution or community property, depending on what law your state follows). In Wisconsin, your state follows equitable distribution laws. So, depending on what is equitable and fair, the account will be separated accordingly. If that account made money or funds used from it made money in investments, I would argue she commingled the funds and therefore that account was a marital asset and not a separate property asset.


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