Financial issues can quickly spiral out of control in American divorces, leading to significant legal problems, disputes, and controversy. In the case of one ex-wife in Detroit, a financial situation led to her arrest. That was just the beginning of this stunning story, and now the tables have turned. It is her ex-husband who is now facing serious consequences, as he was a police officer who reportedly used his connections to arrest his wife for a crime that never even occurred.

How it Began

In 2019, a police officer in Detroit learned that his ex-wife had withdrawn a substantial amount of money from their joint account. This came immediately after the conclusion of their divorce. Although she was not entitled to the money she took, she technically was not committing a criminal offense when she withdrew the funds. Even though the money was not included in their divorce settlement, the officer would have had to go through the proper legal methods in order to report this offense. 

The officer decided to do something different instead. Upon learning that his wife had taken the funds, he went to his commanding officer and asked for help. The police commander then wrote up charges of larceny and concealing stolen property. Putting aside the fact that these crimes did not actually take place, the commander did not even have jurisdiction in this situation. The crimes occurred in Lincoln Park – not Detroit. 

The commander got around this little problem by simply passing on an investigative report to a local deputy in Wayne County. A warrant was then issued, and the woman was arrested in January of 2021. As you might have expected, the charges were dismissed after a few months because prosecutors knew they were essentially bogus. 

The Consequences

The officers involved in this little fiasco are now facing serious consequences. The woman’s defense attorney stated:

“It appeared people were calling in favors and there were some underhanded things going on. We exposed it, and the prosecutors decided to drop the charges.”

The woman has filed a complaint with the Wayne County Ethics Board, and the matter is being investigated. Eventually, it was reported that the police commander in Detroit had been demoted amid the ongoing investigation, which also involved the ex-husband and police officer. It is unclear if they will face any further consequences for these actions. 

When Can a Spouse Legally Withdraw Money from a Jointly-Held Account?

The general consensus is that it is best to withdraw money from a jointly-held account before the legal proceedings begin. In fact, many lawyers advise their clients to do this as a way to ensure they are not locked out of funds later on. However, some attorneys advise against any withdrawals whatsoever until the outcome of the divorce, as this helps avoid needless legal issues. When the divorce is finalized, the court will make it clear exactly how much money each spouse is entitled to, and how much money may be withdrawn.