When a marriage is breaking apart, things can get ugly, especially when it comes to money and assets. Unfortunately, some spouses will resort to destroying, gambling or giving away marital property to prevent their spouse from getting it in the divorce.
Dissipation of assets, also called “wasting marital assets,” is defined as the use of an asset for an illegal or inequitable purpose, such as a spouse’s use of community property for personal benefit when a divorce is imminent.
Examples of Dissipation
– A gambling problem
– An alcohol or drug problem
– Spending money on a girlfriend/boyfriend or other third party
– Legal fees and forfeiture of property resulting from a spouse’s criminal activities
– Gifts by one spouse to the couple’s children or family members
– Failure by a spouse to make mortgage payments, resulting in foreclosure
– Business losses caused by a spouse
In order to be considered as dissipation of marital assets, the spending must be wasteful, excessive, and cannot have been condoned or approved by the other spouse. Some factors that the court may consider to determine if a spouse has wasted marital assets are:
– How close the expenditure was to the separation or breakdown of the marriage
– Whether the expenditure was typical for the marriage or spouse
– Whether the expenditure benefited both spouses, or only one
– The need by one spouse for the expenditure
If the court determines that marital assets have been wasted, the judge will likely divide the property in a way that the spouse who did not waste marital assets receives a larger portion of the marital property.
When a spouse is accused of dissipating marital assets, they are required to show proof that he or she did not spend marital funds for his or her sole benefit. It is for this reason that it is very important to keep receipts for all spent marital funds.
Image via: www.womansday.com