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Ask Clare Your Own Question

Clare, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 32998
Experience:  I have been a solicitor in High Street Practice since 1985 with a wide general experience.
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If a husband unilaterally withdraws marital funds over more

Customer Question

If a husband unilaterally withdraws marital funds over more than 15 years(to include equity in a house that is solely in his name, inherited funds from his deceased father, and released equity from the jointly owned family home which was agreed to be released on the understanding that it would be held indefinitely in a high interest savings account in the husbands name, for the benefit of the couple) before leaving, is this fraud and if so what would be necessary to prove it? TO be taken into account also is that the family home at the time of purchase(20 years ago) cost 107K and the wife put down the deposit of 42K. A trust deed was written up and agreed by both parties before the purchase but later, the husband refused to sign, saying that all his wealth was shared and so should all her wealth.
Submitted: 11 days ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Zoey_JD replied 11 days ago.


I'm Zoey and I'll be assisting you. I'm reviewing your question now. Please be patient while I research and compose a reply for you.

Expert:  Zoey_JD replied 11 days ago.

You appear to be in the UK, but this question has landed in the Fraud Examiner category. If this issue is taking place in the UK, please let me know and I will opt out and change the category to send it to UK legal experts. I am a US attorney and while I can and while I can tell you that this is fraud, I can only discuss options according to US law.

Customer: replied 11 days ago.
I am in the Uk and we were married here and our home is here. I am asking about fraud because the divorce lawyers that I havre encountered just seem to believe that all my husbands deceits will get washed away because we are married. It just seems wrong.
Expert:  Zoey_JD replied 11 days ago.

Here in the States, it would go down the same way. Fraud can be addressed legally in either the civil and the criminal courts. In my experience, when a husband and wife are in divorce litigation, even if there is merit to the criminal claim, as there would appear to be here, the authorities would steer the complainant to civil (family) court. Since marriages involve joint property and distribution of that property would be part of a divorce settlement, the criminal system would leave this to the judge presiding over the divorce to distribute what was left equitably.

I know it seems unfair. But it doesn't mean you won't get justice in the divorce. You won't be able to get him charged with a crime, but financially, the judge will try to balance the equities.

Customer: replied 10 days ago.
Thanks for your reply. The problem that I am having and the reason for trying the fraud avenue is that the divorce lawyers don't seem to want to look at the amounts of disappeared money as they say that the courts will only look back a couple of years and will be loathe to delve further, and it would be too expensive or difficult tp prove. That's why I imagined that in the area of fraud there must be more specific regulations as to what to search for and how to prove misdeeds. My husband was engaged to be married 30 years ago, the girls parents put down 40,000 pounds as a deposit on a house in both their names and then shortly after, he dumped her and took half of the equity. He used this to buy another house with another woman who put all her savings in and then the house went into negative equity and she signed it over to him. Then he met me and I put 42,000 pounds into a shared house with the proviso that we would sign a trust deed protecting my interests, which after the purchase he would not sign. He explained it by saying that everything of his was mine and vice versa, but since then and unbeknownst by me, has re-mortgaged that house 3 times, our house once, released endowment policies on both and made all our savings disappear, but he has done it over at least 15 years, while at the same time having long term secret relationship and telling me I was the only person he could ever possibly look at. He has holidayed with his mistresses each year while I and the children have not been able to afford holidays, and what I hear from the divorce solicitors is that the law only wants to look back a couple of years, and that because we are married it is considered that there is no way to prove that I didn't agree to all his dealings. If it WERE to be dealt with as fraud and not divorce, are there particularly relevant details which would help to clarify things for the court so that all this doesn't get dismissed? Thank you so much for your help.
Expert:  Zoey_JD replied 10 days ago.

My own opinion is that it's very difficult to separate this from the context of a marriage. However, I'm not a solicitor. I suggest posting that piece of it in UK law and specify that you don't want to hear from a family law specialist but want to know if there's anything you can do with just the fraud aspect of it. You can certainly try taking it to the police and reporting it as a crime.

My experience in my own country tells me that whichever way you try to go you'll be steered back to family court. Perhaps it's different there, but judging from the responses you have gotten, it doesn't look that way.

Customer: replied 10 days ago.
When you say posting it in UK Law, do you mean through "Just Ask"? Is there a way of doing that? Can you post this question to UK Legal as suggested in your first response? I would be grateful if you could. To be honest I do not want this man to be charged or jailed, all I want is for the facts to be taken into account when creating a court order for a financial settlement, but the question is how to come to that.
Expert:  Zoey_JD replied 10 days ago.

Yes. I will opt out of the question and have the site moderator move it to UK law.

Customer: replied 10 days ago.
Thank you Zoey, You have been great!
All best
Expert:  Clare replied 9 days ago.

My name is Clare

I shall do my best to help you but I need some further informtaion first

What assets are left?

Customer: replied 9 days ago.
He has an NHS pension from which he released 35,000 pounds and has been drawing 12,000/year since 2009. He won't tell me what the Cash equivalent value is, and says he will only disclose that when requested formally by a solicitor. He has now left just under 80,000 equity in the house he owned before meeting me, and taken out 60,000 to put into another house with his new partner who has put all her money into it as well. He says that all our savings, which he said he would look after for us and which should have been in the region of 100,000, have been used up, even though he has always paid less than me into our family expenses. I have no savings but I live in the family home which has risen from 107K when we bought it(out of which I paid 42K), to now around 600K. We still owe 30K. I do understand the possibility of dividing the remaining assets in half but I am still struggling to accept that the law will back his long term planning and deceit and punish my trusting of my husband who always professed undying love and commitment. It's as if the law is saying: get married if you want to but never trust your partner, because if you do and you get robbed then you will have no recourse. This seems to be what the solicitors are telling me, and because of this I have not yet chosen a solicitor. I am loathe to accept this. It just seems wrong.
I was wondering if a fraud solicitor would be able to make more specific points that would make the disappeared amounts of money more relevant and more likely to be acknowledged. I have no desire to send him to prison but just that the disappeared money be taken into account when dividing assets in the hope that I and my two sons could remain in the house( which is also where I work from as I have private complimentary medicine practice).
After he left I discovered that he had a six year relationship and a consecutively running 10 year one that started 4 years earlier than the second. He went on many international holidays with each of these women while I and the children could not afford to go anywhere and he said he could not afford to do anything with us. Is this not a form of abuse?
Expert:  Clare replied 9 days ago.

How old are the children?

Customer: replied 8 days ago.
My eldest will be 21 in December and has just gone to start a university degree in Manchester. He was delayed for two years due to his dyslexia and the upheaval from my husbands departure. The youngest is 17 and will be 18 in May 2017'. He is living with me at home and studying a drama B-Tec.
Expert:  Clare replied 7 days ago.

As a very rough guide - what is the sum total of the capital your ex has misappropriated?

Customer: replied 6 days ago.
35K from his pension as a lump sum in 2009
84K at around 12K/year since 2009 from pension.
14K released from the joint mortgage
14K released from the mortgage in his name,
10K from increasing the mortgage in his name
65K from the same as above
8K from releasing the endowment on our home.
8K from the endowment on the other house
50 K from an inheritance he received from his fathers estate about 12 years ago.
288K TotalThe simple truth is I have not seen any of this money, but what sort of proof do I need so this will be taken into account?
The only reason I realised this is because he had left some old bank statements in the house which I reviewed and copied by hand in order to make sense of it all. Later the folder with the bank statements disappeared. If a court orders the bank to produce copies these quantities will be seen to be true. What the solicitors I have talked to seem to think it is nigh on impossible to prove he didn't spend this either with my consent or on the family. This seems wrong.
Expert:  Clare replied 6 days ago.

The remortgages must be provable?

Customer: replied 6 days ago.
they are easy to prove. To be honest they are all easy to prove that they went into his accounts, more the question is what do I need in order to prove that he gave none of this to us as a family, and now he says it is all gone. He has done many international holidays with his mistresses, two of them told me so themselves but the solicitors seem to think it all just gets pooled into cost of living.
Expert:  Clare replied 6 days ago.

When were the remortgages?

Customer: replied 5 days ago.
Mortgage increases on house in his name:
October 03'......£10,000
summer 2015...£70,000Endowment release on same house:
21.7.07............£9,030Mortgage increase on joint home:
x.7.07.............£3,000Endowment Release on joint home
Expert:  Clare replied 4 days ago.

Looking at the most recent (2015) what explanation was given for this?

Customer: replied 4 days ago.
He moved out of our home in July 2014, to move into a rented house with his partner of six years, who I had not known about. Last summer he re-mortgaeged so as to put deposit of 65K, in with the same amount from his partner to buy a house for them in Wales. That house is worth about 285K and they put a deposit of 130K.
Expert:  Clare replied 4 days ago.

So he has to account for that

What about the £50,000 inheritance?

Customer: replied 3 days ago.
He said we would invest it but we disagreed on what property to buy so he said he would keep it for us in a high interest savings account which would accrue for our old age. Now he says it is all gone and gives no explanation for this. He has said it went on the high standard of living which I wanted to give our children but the fact is that we were scrupulous in never charging him more than half of the shared expenses, in fact he generally paid less as he always claimed to earn less than me. After he left I discovered that in fact he has always earned considerably more than me, on top of all the monies that have disappeared.
Expert:  Clare replied 3 days ago.


So in fact you have quite a lot of evidence of unaccounted for monies AND there is a substantial equity in the property

This not about fraud - it is about the fact that he squandered assets and you wish to keep more of what there is to compensate for that.

he has the other property - you can argue that you shoudl retain the matrimonial home in full

I hope that this is of assistance - please ask if you need further details

Customer: replied 3 days ago.
Thank you Clare, I do agree with you and from a common sense perspective this seems clear. It would be the obvious fair way of going about this.
However, the solicitors I have spoken with so far( at between £100 to £800 per first meeting) have been dubious as to how much a court would take into account financial transactions over many years, saying that it would be difficult to prove that the money he took out wasn't spent on family as he could just as easily say it was and so how could I prove it wasn't?
I have handwritten calculations for each year,as I did the shared accounts and told him how much we each had to pay into our shared account to cover the family bills, and we paid equally into this from our individual salaries, but these are hand written by me.
What I am mainly trying to find out, without spending thousands of pounds in the process, is what are the specific data I would need to produce so that a court would be very likely to take seriously the amounts that he has taken out. If I know what that data is, I can then see if I have it and if it is worth pursuing that to be taken into account. If I don't then I may have to accept the general consensus that the courts will simply look at assets left now, and just choose one of the solicitors I have seen so far that will simply argue for the best deal close to 50/50 of what is left.A question associated with this is that I do believe my ex has invested some of this money and probably in property, but also has probably hidden it quite well as he has had many years to plan this, if this were true and it were discovered AFTER he had denied this in his financial disclosure, are there any repercussions for him? In other words does the law dissuade hiding assets at this point by enforcing consequences? My guess is that the only way he will be encouraged to be honest is if there is a consequence to not doing so.
Something I would like to say at this point is that I am very grateful for your time and attention. So far, gathering information in order to make a plan of action has been incredibly expensive and worrying and JUST ANSWER is a Godsend, so thank you.

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