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Dissipation of Assets: My Spouse is Wasting Our Money

Posted on in Divorce

dissipation of assets, DuPage County divorce attorneyIf you are considering divorce, or are already beginning the process, and your spouse has been spending your shared funds imprudently, you may be able to get some of the money back.

Under Illinois’ marriage dissolution law, when one spouse uses marital funds for his or her own benefit, and not for the benefit of the marriage, it is called dissipation. For these purposes, marital assets include income from employment or investments, and funds in shared accounts such as IRAs, savings accounts, CDs, and 401(k)s that built up throughout the marriage. Senseless spending of such funds is only classified as dissipation if it occurs when the marriage is undergoing an irretrievable breakdown.

Often, the date when this breakdown began is very hard to pinpoint, and is a source of bitter disagreement in itself, especially since it can impact how any funds spent during this time will be viewed by a court. Sometimes, the date of separation is used; more rarely, it could be the date when one party filed for a divorce. However, courts often find that the breakdown began well before either of these dates.

How to Recover Dissipated Funds

If you think that your spouse misused your shared assets during the decline of your marriage, you must file a notice of intent to claim dissipation during your divorce proceedings. In recent years, courts have placed limits on when you can file this claim and how far back dissipation claims can reach. A court will consider several additional factors in determining whether a party dissipated funds, in addition to the time frame of the breakdown. The court will look at if the expenses benefitted the marriage, if it was excessive, and if the party who spent the funds intended to waste, hide, or redirect marital assets. Expenses that will almost certainly be considered dissipation include buying gifts or dinners, or taking vacations with boyfriends or girlfriends, and spending money on unreasonable or unnecessary items like expensive jewelry, clothing or hobbies. Once a spouse claims that the other spouse dissipated funds, the other spouse becomes responsible for showing clearly that he or she used the funds in a proper manner.

During the process of divorce, marital assets are divided equitably between the two spouses. If a judge finds that dissipation did occur, he or she will count these squandered assets as part of the share that goes to the spouse who dissipated them. The spouse who did not dissipate funds will be granted a larger share of the remaining marital property as a result.

For help ensuring that you do not suffer financial losses because of your spouse’s loose spending prior to your divorce, you should consult with an attorney who is experienced in the division of marital property. Davi Law Group, LLC offers free consultations for divorce matters in DuPage County. Contact our skilled DuPage County divorce attorneys today to schedule a consultation.

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