In a divorce, the most frequently fought over issue is, of course, money.
Whether financial problems were the primary cause of the divorce, or your
spouse made a habit of hiding assets, and spending recklessly, there is
no doubt money can be a force to be reckoned with for divorcing couples,
causing the process to draw out much longer than it should. If you believe
your spouse might be wasting marital funds, or you have evidence to support
this suspicion, you might be incredibly frustrated about your situation.
You are not powerless against this, however. With a skilled divorce attorney,
you might be able to obtain a fair divorce settlement despite your spouse’s
When a Spouse Wastes Marital Funds
In a marriage, spouses often have strong financial control over marital
funds, especially when they have joint bank accounts and credit accounts.
This gives spouses the ability to access each other’s debit and
credit card numbers as well as online banking information. Having this
kind of unchecked access makes it easy to make payments with a spouse’s
account even if the other’s name is not on it. This kind of conduct
inevitably leads to marital conflict, particularly when the financial
transactions in question are not agreed upon by both spouses.
During divorce proceedings, the court will consider all contributions both
spouses made to the marriage as well as wasted assets, or negative contributions,
to ensure the resulting settlement is fair.
What is Dissipation?
Dissipation simply refers to a spouse’s concealment or waste of marital
assets in anticipation of a divorce. This does not necessarily mean a
spouse was behaving recklessly and spent a good chunk of the marital assets.
Some spouses spend wastefully as a form of revenge, to prevent the other
spouse from getting his or her fair share when it comes to the matter
of asset and property division. Regardless of how the assets are wasted,
however, there are certain ways in which the court determines whether
or not an expenditure qualifies as frivolous or wasteful dissipation.
- Excessive gambling
- Intentionally failing to preserve assets, such as allowing a home to go
into foreclosure by not paying the mortgage
- Spending excessively on drugs, alcohol, or partying
- Purchasing lavish gifts or wasting funds on an extramarital affair
- Selling a property or business interest for a substantially low or less
than fair value
Making a Convincing Claim of Dissipation of Assets
To convince the court that marital property was wastefully dissipated,
there are a couple of arguments that can assist in supporting your claim:
- The amount spent is substantial: If only a small amount was wasted, it
is not likely you will achieve much. For example, if your husband purchased
flowers for his girlfriend, this will not be considered wasteful dissipation.
On the other hand, if he took her skiing in the Swiss Alps on your dime,
this could certainly be considered wasteful dissipation.
- The spending is both frivolous and unusual: If you condoned your spouse’s
spending in the past, such as his or her penchant for collecting expensive
antiques, you might not be able to claim it is wasteful just because you
are now concerned about your share of marital assets.
These claims can be difficult to prove on your own, but with the assistance
of a skilled and experienced attorney who can effectively and thoroughly
investigate your financial situation, it is possible to succeed in your
claim against your spouse. Wasteful dissipation creates an unfair playing
field for the innocent spouse, but thankfully, when proven, courts are
willing to consider this conduct and divide assets and property accordingly.
Illinois Property Division Attorneys
If you are in the midst of a divorce and are concerned your spouse is frivolously
spending marital assets, it is crucial to obtain a skilled divorce attorney
as soon as possible. At Wakenight & Associates, P.C., our attorneys
are well-versed in our state’s divorce laws and will be able to
ensure your asset distribution plan is fair and beneficial to you. This
issue is often highly-contested and complicated, which is why you should
not go through it alone. To ensure your rights are protected, choose a
trusted law firm that is committed to achieving the best possible outcome
on your behalf.
To speak with an Illinois property division attorney at Wakenight &
Associates, P.C., contact us today at (888) 351-2843 for a free consultation.
Nothing is more important than your family and finances.