If Your Spouse Lost Money Gambling, Do They Have to Pay You Back? High Net Worth Divorce Attorney Peter M. Walzer Explains on ABC7 News
[Source: ABC 7 News]
If your husband lost a ton of money in the stock market or gambling or other investments, would he be liable for payment back to you?
A recent landmark case addressed the issue of spouses gambling communal funds.
“Well this couple (the Kamgars) had a lot of money,” explains top California divorce attorney Peter M. Walzer. “And these cases come to our courts because they have a lot of money and can fight about it. The husband was bored with his work and he decided to invest a lot of their money. The wife went along with it and thought, great you have a hobby-you have something to do. He began to invest more and more and then she began to get worried about it. She started texting him, what’s going on and he told her to not ask him any questions.
Finally, she got wind of it and said no more- but he put their money all in and lost tens of millions of dollars. They fought in court. It went round and round. Eventually, it reached our appellate court and the court came down with a landmark decision in the Kamgar case. It said if you tell your spouse ‘don’t risk our money- that’s it.’ She got part of the money back-about 3 million dollars back. It’s important in our world of divorces, that people can get their money back if they told their spouse not to risk anymore,” explains high net worth divorce attorney Peter M. Walzer.
Are we legally obligated to tell our spouse when we are spending large amounts of money?
“No, you are not. But if you are spending tens of millions of dollars, you probably are,” affirms top family law attorney Peter M. Walzer.
What if the spouses had separate accounts? Could either one of them do whatever they wanted to do with their money?
“Separate account is different than separate property. If they have separate property or if they have a prenup that says ‘what’s mine is mine and what’s yours is yours’-fine, do what you want. But if it’s community property (and most people have community property), you can’t do whatever you want with it,” declares leading divorce lawyer Peter M. Walzer. “So a prenup could solve that problem.”
Does fiduciary duty play a part?
“We have a fiduciary duty to our spouses. We can’t do whatever we want. Our money is their money. Their money is our money and we are responsible for that. Most people don’t think about it. But, when there is lots of money involved, you better think about it,” explains top California divorce attorney Peter M. Walzer.
What can couples do to prevent this?
“Tell each other what you are doing. Be honest about it. if you feel guilty about going to Vegas and you are doing something you shouldn’t be doing, you better not do it or you may have to pay your spouse for it,” states Peter M. Walzer premier family law attorney.
For more information on family law or divorces, go to walzermelcher.com.