Divorce Q&A: What is Dissipation?

You and your spouse may have had to compromise on how to save and spend money during your marriage. However, some spouses consider divorce a free-for-all where they can spend money as they like. As you can imagine, this isn’t the case.

If a spouse begins to spend money on lavish trips or other expenses that are solely to his or her benefit, the courts will likely consider it dissipation. If they do, that spouse will almost always have to pay some or all of the money back to be divided as property in the divorce.

What is Dissipation?

Dissipation is commonly understood as the squandering of money, energy, or resources. In divorce, this is related almost exclusively to money.

Some spouses begin to spend a lot of money during divorce because they know it is to be divided as part of the divorce. However, courts expect both spouses to keep spending under control during a divorce. This means you shouldn’t go out and purchase something new just for the sake of doing so and should be more mindful of your spending.

Dissipation is a problem because a spouse is spending money that is supposed to be equitably divided between both spouses. This means that one spouse may be negatively impacted by their soon-to-be former spouse’s spending while they shouldn’t be. This is why dissipation exists and why courts will order a spouse who has dissipated assets to pay it back.

What Do You Need to Prove Dissipation?

If you believe your spouse has spent money inappropriately at any point during the divorce process, it’s important that you bring up the issue with your Naperville divorce attorney. To prove your claim, you will need:

  • The assets spent or otherwise devalued;
  • The date at which your marriage broke down; and
  • The date or timeframe in which the alleged dissipation happened.

Having specific details to back up your claim is important. After all, you must prove that there were assets spent and when it occurred to have a valid claim. Dates are most important because you cannot claim spending is dissipation if it occurred before the breakdown of the marriage.

In most dissipation claims, a spouse is only ordered to re-pay what he or she spent of his or her partner’s share of the marital asset. Likewise, the offending spouse will take less of the marital estate in his or her property award.

Learn More About Dissipation and Your Rights at Lawrence R. Surinak Ltd. 

If you believe your spouse has dissipated assets during your divorce or has done so since the breakdown of your marriage, it’s important that you pursue appropriate claims to receive your share of the marital estate. It’s easiest to do so when you partner with an experienced Naperville divorce lawyer like the team at Lawrence R. Surinak Ltd..

To discuss dissipation or any issues related to your case, contact Larry and take advantage of your free, 30-minute consultation by calling 630-470-9990. If you prefer, you may also request an appointment online and we will contact you.

We look forward to offering you our expertise and support throughout the divorce process.

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