I found out my wife liquidated one of our joint bank accounts and placed all the money in another account under just her name.
I have a copy of the withdrawal and the account number of her separate account.
Is there anything I can do to force her to return the money to a joint account or at least give me half?
I am unable to give you legal advice on divorce. I can give general divorce help for men, though, my knowledge is based on Pennsylvania family laws where I am licensed to practice.
The first threshold question would be whether a divorce complaint has been filed. In order for the court to be able to assist you, there must be an open action under which you can ask for relief/help from the court.
Without an open action, the court cannot have a hearing/trial with regard to your wife’s behavior and cannot enter an order compelling her to return the money and complete a full accounting.
Typically, if there is an open action, then the court requires that the financial affairs and assets of the marriage remain status quo throughout the entirety of the divorce litigation, until such time as either the parties agree as to how to divide up the marital estate or the court enters an order dividing up the marital estate.
If one party of the marriage changes the ownership of a marital asset, in your case removing funds from a jointly held account into an account to which you have no access, the court can enter an order (after the appropriate petition/motion is filed) in which your wife would have to return the funds to the jointly held account and you could then have the account frozen so no monies could be withdrawn from the account without the consent of both parties or a court order.
Also, the court can order that an accounting take place of the monies to make sure that if there is any money missing, then the party removing the money would have to be responsible for the missing money.
Please note that a bank or financial institution is generally obligated to follow a court order. Therefore, if you obtained a court order for a return of the funds, even if your wife would not cooperate, the bank/financial institution should.
Remember, I am unable to provide you with anything more than divorce tips for men, so please consult with divorce lawyers for men in your jurisdiction.