What Is Considered Wasteful Dissipation of Marital Assets?

red convertible - asset in a divorce

As you navigate a divorce, you will be faced with new legal jargon such as the term “wasteful dissipation.” If you are wondering what this term means and how might it affect your divorce, you are not alone. Wasteful dissipation consists of spending an excessive amount of marital money or assets right before a divorce. It is an act of bad behavior a spouse may try to attempt to try to make the most out of your marital assets while he/she still can. Today, we will go over what wasteful dissipation is and how to protect yourself from it while going through a divorce.

What Is Wasteful Dissipation?

Wasteful dissipation happens when one spouse decides to wastefully spend marital assets or fails to preserve marital assets in the anticipation of a divorce. If this spouse wasted a significant amount of assets, you could potentially be entitled to a larger share of marital assets when discussing property division. However, if this is not the case and the amount wasted is minimal, it may not be worth your time to pursue.

What Constitutes Wasteful Dissipation?

While there is not an exact definition for wasteful dissipation, there are several factors the court will consider before determining whether a spouse’s actions would be considered wasteful. These include but are not limited to the following:

  • Spouse’s intent while spending the money
  • Effects the spending had on the family (for instance, if the spouse could not support his/her family due to such behavior)
  • Whether the purchases solely benefitted one spouse
  • If the spouse attempted to hide his/her spending
  • Amount of marital assets that were spent
  • Relationship between the amount of money spent and the overall financial status and obligations of each spouse

How Can a Spouse Wastefully Dissipate Marital Assets?

Here are some examples of how a spouse can wastefully dissipate marital assets:

  • Spending an excessive amount of money during an affair (could include gift-giving, vacationing, or even purchasing a home)
  • Excessive gambling or making poor investments
  • Making large purchases prior to filing for divorce
  • Failing to protect marital assets (for instance, letting the marital home go into foreclosure)
  • Spending money on a large amount of alcohol and recreational drugs
  • Giving property away to friends and family members
  • Making large donations to charities and other causes
  • Intentional overspending
  • Frequent vacationing with luxury accommodations

It can be difficult to prove wasteful dissipation, which is why it is imperative to hire experienced legal representation to handle this issue.

How Do You Prove Wasteful Dissipation?

To prove that your spouse’s spending is dissipation, the court will need to see when the spending occurred. If it happened the moment you filed for divorce, there is a good chance this could be considered wasteful dissipation. On the other hand, if your spouse spent money frivolously throughout the duration of the marriage, this would not be considered dissipation.

The court will also determine if the money spent was substantial. Also, the court will look to see if the spending habits were unusual and frivolous.

Contact our office online or by calling (949) 577-7935 to schedule a consultation to discuss the details of your divorce case today.