When an action for divorce is started, or even just prior to commencement one spouse may discover that their partner has taken significant money from the joint bank accounts. While of course, this is disturbing and sets a confrontational tone for your divorce, it does not mean that you will not be entitled to your share of the taken money. First, be aware that half of this money also belongs to your spouse. Before you get entangled in litigation try to ask your spouse to return your half. A conversation may be the quickest and most economical way to get your money back. If that fails, your attorney has options. First if your spouse is not cooperative, bring it to the court’s attention. If ultimately you cannot draft an agreement to be “so ordered” by the court, you may ultimately be forced into trial and, the Judge will decide how the money is distributed.
For the spouse that took the money, realize that all things being equal, half of that money does belong to your spouse, and you will have to return it. If for whatever reasons you believe that you must keep the money understand that you will have to account for it at the conclusion of your divorce. Put the money into an account and keep track of how you use it. You will have to return half so you might seriously consider putting half of the money immediately back. Keeping it and having the court force you to return it may not be in your long term best interests.
Ultimately, playing these games with money will not help you with your divorce. Divorce is hard enough, limit the issues that need to be addressed to things that are absolutely essential.