Divorce involves the division of joint accounts, joint property, and other assets. This process almost always involves one spouse believing they’re entitled to more than they’re going to receive as part of their final judgment. This often opens the door to something called dissipation.
In this article, we’ll discuss what dissipation is, why you may need to continue sharing resources during the divorce, and how to protect yourself from dissipation during your own divorce.
What is Dissipation?
Dissipation is any spending of marital funds or use of marital assets for a purpose that doesn’t benefit the marriage. This typically means one spouse is spending money, therefore decreasing the amount of money to be divided in the divorce.
It’s important to note that dissipation must mean a significant amount of spending, too. This means if your spouse goes out and buys something for $100 or loses $200 betting or otherwise risking it, you typically can’t allege or prove dissipation.
If you aren’t sure whether something is dissipation, it’s typically best to ask your attorney about whether you can try to recover the money.
Why Can’t Both Spouses Use Separate Accounts? Wouldn’t This Prevent the Problem?
While it’s sometimes simple to divide and use separate accounts, it typically isn’t. That’s why negotiating the asset division part of any divorce is often the most complicated part and is saved for last after negotiating a parenting schedule and other issues.
This means that you’re more likely than not going to share assets with your spouse during the divorce. And, it means you need to know what to do should you suspect or know marital assets are being dissipated.
How to Protect Yourself From Dissipation
If you suspect dissipation at any point, it’s important to bring it up to your Naperville divorce attorney. This will help you determine the most appropriate course of action depending on the unique facts of your case.
In some cases, it makes the most sense to close joint credit card accounts to stop spending and allocate debt accordingly. Of course, most spouses engaging in dissipation won’t just agree to assume the debt of what they’ve spent. Thus, freezing credit cards or forcing approval of the other cardholder for a purchase is often a better, more realistic option while your divorce is still pending.
If there are no affirmative steps you can take to immediately stop the spending, document what you can. Showing when the dissipation happened, how much was spent, and what it was used for is key in recovering the money as part of your divorce.
Talk to Your Naperville Divorce Lawyer About Dissipation
Dissipation is too common in divorce, but it’s still important to be aware of the potential for this problem so you can protect yourself. If you need assistance, Lawrence R. Surinak Ltd. can help. Larry has over 36 years of legal expertise and has handled countless cases in which dissipation has been a problem.
We look forward to hearing from you regarding dissipation or other potential issues in your case.