After working so hard to avoid paying attention to the Gosselin’s, the story that the judge is requiring John to return $180,000 caught my eye.  This would appear to be the conclusion of the controversy started when Kate appeared on the Today Show (as well as any other outlet who would have her) to claim that John had taken $230,000 from their joint account.

I don’t know what’s wrong with these two, but I bet it’s hard to spell.  I can’t help but notice that neither of them talk about the kids unless they’re either trying to build sympathy for their case or using them as a weapon against the other, as evidenced by the legal battle over “John & Kate Plus 8”.

Back to the money: I don’t know Pennsylvania law, but I’m assuming their procedure is similar to ours in that when a divorce is filed, the court will automatically issue an injunction forbidding either party from changing the family’s financial situation.  This doesn’t mean they can’t spend any money at all, as everybody has the expected bills to pay and regular expenses.  What it means is neither party may change the financial situation by moving, selling, hiding, or otherwise altering major marital assets.

If John believed he could simply remove that much money from the account and get away with it, he’s an idiot.  It is not difficult to determine when money was removed from a bank account and who took it.  Banks keep accurate records about such things, and lawyers are quick to bring those records to the judge when things like this happen.

If John had a leg to stand on in this case, he may have kicked it out from under himself.  Judges are charged with a responsibility to rule with the law, but they don’t forget when a guy leaves his family and drains the bank account leaving the mother without funds to house and feed their children.  Never mind that Kate undoubtedly has money stashed somewhere, John has managed to create the perception that he’s trying to drain marital assets, and he may pay dearly for it later.  Publicly flaunting his new girlfriend is also a stupid move.

The lesson John is learning in this case applies equally to your divorce.  As I wrote above, the court will automatically issue an injunction when your divorce is filed.  This injunction forbids transferring, selling, concealing, or borrowing money against marital property.  Also, you may not change or cancel insurance policies, hide or destroy electronic files or storage media (no trashing the family computer to hide the emails from your special friend), move the children out of the state or more than 100 miles from the family home, or threaten or harass your spouse.  If you believe your spouse is doing any of these things, notify your attorney immediately.

I know I’m a little late on this story, but I’ve been out of town for a few days enjoying time with my wife.  If you care to leave a comment, I’d love to hear your thoughts on the mess these two have created.  I’m sure there’s a lot that could be said.