Dissipation of marital assets and what it means to your divorce

Photo of attorney Melinda L. Singer

When the best days of your marriage are behind you and divorce is on the horizon, your spouse may start being reckless with marital assets such as bank accounts or joint credit cards. You may begin to notice unusual or suspicious transactions by your soon-to-be ex, who was once frugal with their finances.

Understandably, you have a right to be concerned since you also have a stake in these assets. If your spouse wastes them, you may have nothing to claim from the marital estate you worked so hard to build over the years.

It could affect the property division process of your divorce

Dissipation of marital assets occurs when a spouse consumes, gives away, converts or transfers such assets for non-marital purposes and sometimes in bad faith. It could include expenses like expensive gifts, hotel rooms or luxury trips with their significant other before the divorce is finalized.

If your spouse wasted or spent in bad faith marital assets in the lead-up to the divorce, you may be entitled to the amount dissipated in the interests of equitable property distribution.

Protecting your financial interests in a divorce

Dealing with finances is among the most complicated yet unavoidable aspects of a divorce. You cannot let your guard down in the months preceding the divorce, or you may be left dealing with the consequences years later. Therefore, it is advisable to stay on top of all transactions relating to your marital assets. 

Should you notice red flags that could point to dissipation, you should take appropriate action, starting with collecting relevant evidence. Understanding the steps to take to get what you deserve after the dissipation of marital assets is crucial in safeguarding your rights and interests in a divorce.

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