– from Harry E. in Erin, WI

Question Details:

Before I met my ex-girlfriend, I had inherited a large sum of money. My girlfriend and I lived together for about 3 years. We kept our money in a joint account and both spent money out of it to cover living expenses. She worked at a minimum wage job and deposited her checks into our joint account as well. Now we are splitting up and she is taking me to court for half the money. It is worth several hundred thousand dollars. I'll give her back her money, but can she really get half of my money?

Family Law Attorney Response:

This honestly is highly unlikely. One can never predict a courts final decision with 100% certainty when it comes to property division, but it is doubtful.

In the case of Lawlis v. Thompson 137 Wis. 2d 490, 405 N.W.2d 317 (1987), it was found that, under the clause of ‘unjust enrichment' it would not be fair for the defendant to retain any of the money belonging to the plaintiff who held a large sum in the joint bank account.

My advice is to seek legal counsel immediately in order to ensure your rights are upheld.

Dan Exner, J.D.

Family Law Attorney

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