My soon-to-be ex-husband forged my signature to withdraw approximately $150,000 from our joint stock account in the middle of uncontested divorce. The joint account was set-up to require both of our signatures to make withdrawals. I am moving forward with divorce but I very much want him to return the money or get prosecuted for forging my signature if he doesn't return the money. I asked him to return the money and he refused to do so. Is there anything that can be done about that aside form stalling the divorce? Can I press criminal charges? I froze what was left in the account but I have not contacted the bank to complain about the signature forgery. I need to understand what options I have or what steps I can take before I do anything.
2 Answers from Attorneys
Re: signature forgery
from Wayne Comer, Attorney At Law.
There are not enough facts presented here to permit a succint reply. The first part of your presentation suggests that the assets wrongfully appropriated may have been in the nature of securities (stocks?) However, you mention complaining to your "bank". Your remedies, if "stock" or securities are involved, would be much different than for "money". In any event, in order to give a usefull reply, we would have to know the basis and status of divorce suit, assets of each party, your children and dependants, income of each party, etc.
I can hardly imagine that you are this far into such a case without having legal representation!
But good luck!
Re: signature forgery
There are several ways in returning the funds
1. if there are assets in the marriage that will be the man's share equal to the funds withdrawn then I suggest giving the evidence in the equitable distribution hearing rather than file criminal charges. First secure the evidence with the help of the Bank that the funds had been withdrawn by him. The Judge will award equal funds that would have been his to you and penalize him by granting you a larger share.
If there aren't funds sufficient to repay and there is no advantage in presenting it in divorce, then as satisfaction you can prosecute. If there are children I do not suggest this as it might make the father unavailable to his children.
You should always have competent lawyers helping you in thses tasks.