The dissipation of marital assets is similar, in some ways, to attempting to hide those assets. At least, the goal is the same. The person who is doing it does not want to divide those assets with their spouse during the divorce.
If you’re worried that your spouse is going to try to do this, then it is important to understand how this process works and how it is different from hiding assets. Remember that both you and your spouse have a right to those assets, you are required to make a full disclosure to the court, and attempting to circumvent these rules can be very problematic for your case. In other words, it is something that your spouse should never do, but you need to know how it works just in case they try it.
The dissipation of marital assets involves frivolously using those assets or spending them so that there’s no way to divide them during the divorce. Your spouse is essentially trying to use up the assets first, so that they can benefit from those assets without having to split them with you.
One thing to look for is simply an increase in spending or any major changes to spending habits. People are certainly allowed to continue spending during the months that it takes for a divorce to conclude, but they cannot intentionally spend money Just so that their spouse loses out.
Another thing to keep in mind is that they are probably going to look for purchases that cannot be refunded and carry no inherent value. For instance, if your spouse wastes $10,000 buying a car, you could simply take the car in the divorce or sell it and split the money. But if they spend $10,000 taking a vacation, you cannot get back the cost of those plane tickets or the experiences that they had. That’s what they’re trying to take from you, perhaps because they think it will be easier for them to replace those financial assets than it will be for you – such as if your spouse has a high-paying job and you are a stay-at-home parent.
What are your options?
This can put you in a very problematic situation and you don’t want to lose out on assets that you deserve, so make sure you know about all of the legal steps you should take.