Financial Considerations Before Separation & Divorce


#1

Here is my conundrum.

I caught my wife in an affair with a married man (a previous boyfriend of hers). He is very wealthy, and she has filled her pretty little mind with delusions of a future relationship with this man. Personally, I think she’s gone off her rocker and don’t believe for a second that she has a future with this man. But, she’s at a point where there is no convincing her of this.

Here’s the deal. I only have VERBAL evidence, and no hard evidence of adultery. When it comes to legal proceedings, I’m sure that her lawyers will ask me to prove my case and I won’t be able to do so. OK - Fine, that’s life.

I don’t think the ball is going to get rolling for another few months. Here’s what I’d like to do. I have a decent sized retirement savings account that she is salivating over (she’s remarked about it a few times). I’d like to take a big piece of that retirement savings and cash it out. I’d send Uncle Sam his share, and the rest I’d use to pay off my student loans (originated prior to our marriage). I think I’m well within my rights to do what I choose when it comes to my own financial assets even within the confines of my (now unhappy) marriage. Am I correct? In no way would my doing this cause financial distress. In fact, it could reasonably be argued that removing this debt would improve our monthly cash flow.


#2

If you can withdraw money from the 401(k) without your wife’s permission, you are correct in that there is technically nothing stopping you. You should know that if you separate, a judge may attribute the amount withdrawn to you in equitable distribution thus giving you less of the 401(k). This may also make it impossible to settle the marital estate without litigation, which always increases the expense of separation.