Countless spouses receive settlement checks after going through a divorce in the United States. Usually, this is a relatively straightforward procedure. One spouse receives a check for a certain amount of money, they cash the check at their bank, and they continue with their life. However, one spouse found out the hard way that cashing a divorce settlement check can result in surprisingly serious consequences. In fact, this man is now facing criminal charges for attempting to cash his settlement check. But how could this happen?

“It’s a Real Mess”

Our story begins in Mandan, North Dakota, where Cody Guthmiller was wrapping up his divorce. As the case came to a close, Cody was given a settlement check from his former wife, Allison Guthmiller. Now, what Cody did not know was that Allison had stolen a considerable sum of money in order to pay him his settlement. How much was the settlement worth? A cool $84,500. 

Apparently, the 34-year-old ex-husband was contacted by police, who urged him not to cash the check. However, Cody ignored them and refused to return the check, thereby guaranteeing him criminal charges. 

So, where did Allison get the money? The story gets even stranger. Apparently, she stole the settlement funds from her own grandmother, transferring the funds from the elderly woman’s account into her own before writing out the check. The grandmother then ostensibly informed the police. According to Cody’s defense attorney, he never actually attempted to cash the check, and he was never made aware that the money was obtained illegally. His attorney also claims that he does not even have the money, and that the entire situation is a “real mess.”

What Happens Next?

The evidence against Cody is quite minimal, and you would expect this man to walk away with his freedom intact. After all, how can you possibly face criminal charges for simply accepting a settlement check from someone? In the end, the prosecution will have to prove that he was aware that the money was obtained illegally, and this may prove to be quite difficult. 

On the other hand, Allison is definitely facing serious charges, including felony exploitation of an eligible adult. Her guilt will be much easier to prove, as she clearly took advantage of her own grandmother in a misguided attempt to pay off her ex. Obviously, there was no reason to ever take this step, as she could have simply paid off Cody in installments over the years. Something tells us that a jury will not be very sympathetic to someone who has victimized their own grandma in this manner. One can only hope that this elderly citizen received her $85,000 back when all was said and done, although it is not exactly clear what happened to the money in the end. 

Consequences of Financial Misconduct

As any attorney will tell you, the consequences for financial misconduct can be quite significant during a divorce. Although our emotions can cause us to act in highly irrational ways when our marriages fall apart, it is best to stay within the confines of the law, deal with your divorce in a calm manner, and then attempt to salvage your finances as best as possible in the following years.