Your Family Matters

Understanding asset dissipation

On Behalf of | Jan 24, 2018 | family law

Sometimes a divorce between Illinois residents can be a very acrimonious affair. In some cases, you may suspect a spouse is harming or perhaps even destroying assets that you jointly own in your marriage. According to the Huffington Post, some spouses engage in a particular form of asset destruction known as dissipation.

Basically, dissipation is when a spouse decides to waste cash or property so that the other party does not win any of it in a divorce judgment. This occurs without the other spouse’s consent and generally without the other spouse’s knowledge. Dissipation can take many forms. Specifically, a husband may decide to lavish money on a girlfriend through an expensive getaway in the Bahamas, accompanied by gifts to his lover like jewelry or fine clothes. A spouse may also decide to splurge on a hobby, or spend money on frivolous activities like strip clubs. Other spouses may gamble money away.

In other cases, a spouse may get rid of money by transferring it to another party. The individual may try to hide this activity by claiming the money was a loan, although there is no real expectation the money will be paid back. Other forms of dissipation entail the outright destruction of assets. A spouse may neglect to pay a mortgage and willfully allow a property to fall into foreclosure. Personal items may be “accidently” left in places where they can be damaged or destroyed. Items made of metal, for example, can be abandoned in the rain and become rusted. A spouse may also engage in other forms of neglect that leaves martial property ruined.

An act of intentional dissipation, if proven in a court of law, can entitle the innocent party to a greater share of the surviving martial property. Additionally, according to Forbes, a spouse who suspects dissipation is taking place can request an Automatic Temporary Restraining Order to stop the other spouse from changing the financial status quo when the divorce commences. Such an order will have to be requested in a timely manner to prevent a spouse from doing a lot of asset damage.