Some couples realize that divorce is the best option for both parties and they part ways amicably. For many others, however, divorce is anything but agreeable, and emotions such as greed, spite and anger get in the way, forcing the parties to fight tooth and nail for every last dollar.
In high-asset divorce cases, it is not uncommon for the breadwinner to use every last trick in the book to prevent the other party from receiving any of “his or her” wealth. According to Forbes, dissipation of assets is one of the more common tactics high-income earners use.
What is dissipation of assets?
Dissipation of assets is just a fancy term for the intentional waste of marital funds. The goal of this tactic is to reduce the marital property as much as possible so that the other party does not receive his or her fair share in the final divorce settlement.
The dissipation of marital assets can occur in many ways. For instance, a spiteful husband may use the marital funds on lavish vacations for his mistress. A scorned wife may go on a spending spree, knowing she is about to lose her access to fund. Typically, however, the breadwinner is the perpetrator, as he or she knows he or she can easily earn the money back once the divorce is final.
Though it may seem harmless, purposefully squandering funds can have dire consequences for the lesser earning spouse. Many lesser earning or homemaking spouses struggle to reenter the workforce and/or to maintain the standard of living established during the marriage. Because it can create undue hardship for the other party, the courts frown upon dissipation of assets and take it into serious consideration when determining divorce settlements.
Should you file a claim?
If you suspect that your spouse purposely squandered assets, you may wish to make a claim. Whether or not you should comes down to two main factors: the amount in question and whether the wastefulness was unusual.
The courts have no time for nickel and diming, and it may end up costing you as well. You should only pursue a claim of dissipation of assets if the amount your spouse wasted was substantial.
Forbes also warns against filing a claim just because you believe your spouse spends irresponsibly. If she always spent too much money on clothes and shoes, you do not have a claim just because you now face divorce.