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What to Do If Your Spouse Is Purposely Wasting Assets During Your Divorce

 Posted on June 13, 2018 in Division of Property

Lombard divorce attorneysIdeally, every divorcing couple would be cooperative and amicable during the divorce proceedings and the time leading up to it. However, this is not how a large number of divorces go. Spouses are often at least partially resentful of each other or harbor negative feelings about their soon-to-be-ex. In most instances, these hostile feelings only result in a few sideways glances or muttered insults between the spouses. In more extreme circumstances, one spouse may try to “get even” or hurt the other spouse through excessive spending or squandering marital property. This wastefulness is called “dissipation of assets,” and Illinois courts take the matter very seriously.

What Exactly Does "Dissipation of Assets" Mean?

The concept of dissipation can be hard to understand. The formal definition of dissipation comes from the Illinois Supreme Court. Dissipation formally refers to “the use of marital property for the sole benefit of one of the spouses for a purpose unrelated to the marriage at a time that the marriage is undergoing an irretrievable breakdown.” In order to know if your spouse is guilty of dissipation, you need to determine what property has been misspent. Generally, marital property includes any property or income which was accumulated by either spouse during the marriage. So, if a spouse wasted money from a bank account which was used for shared expenses like bills and household expenses, he may be guilty of dissipation.

What Types of Spending Are Considered Dissipation?

In order to qualify as dissipation, the wasteful spending must have been excessive and for a purpose unrelated to the marriage. For example, a husband who loses thousands of dollars gambling during the end of a marriage may be considered guilty of dissipation. Money spent on drug and alcohol addictions during the end of a marriage may also be considered dissipative. A spouse who buys expensive gifts for a lover during an adulterous affair may also be dissipating assets.

“Irretrievable Breakdown” Defined

Unfortunately, the concept of dissipation only applies to wasteful spending which occurs after the irretrievable breakdown of a marriage has begun. The term “irretrievable breakdown” means that the marriage has reached a point where it is no longer salvageable. The spouses may not have formally filed for divorce yet, but they acknowledge, either through words or actions, that the marriage is ending.

Experienced Divorce Attorneys Serving Arlington Heights, DuPage County, and Cook County

Contact the dedicated team of lawyers at A. Traub and Associates for help with marital asset distribution, allocation of parental responsibilities, divorce mediation, alimony/spousal maintenance issues, child support, and more. Call 630-426-0196 to schedule a confidential consultation with one of our skilled Lombard family lawyers today.



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