Unless you have a marital agreement, most of your property is subject to division in Washington state divorce proceedings. Community property laws ensure that each spouse can receive a fair share of the couple’s assets regardless of who earned more during the marriage.
Unfortunately, some people will do just about anything to reduce what their ex receives when they divorce. Some spouses will dissipate marital assets. That means that they give giveaway, destroy or misuse resources that should belong to both spouses.
How would dissipation affect the property division outcome in a Washington divorce?
Dissipation can amount to thousands of dollars or more
Numerous kinds of behavior may constitute dissipation. Going out and gambling with a significant amount of your paycheck when you found out your spouse filed for divorce could be one example. Spending thousands of dollars on restaurants and hotels while conducting an extramarital affair might be another.
Giving away assets so that the other spouse won’t get to claim them in the divorce is another kind of dissipation. Some people will sell marital assets for a fraction of what they are worth and then split the proceeds with their spouse. Others might give away marital property as gifts to their friends, family members or co-workers with the expectation that they will later reclaim those assets after the divorce.
If you can put a financial value on the assets your spouse wasted, diminished or destroyed, then you may be able to ask the Washington courts to adjust the property division outcome in your divorce to reflect that misuse of marital assets. You have a right not to have your spouse’s bad financial behavior put you at a disadvantage.
Learning more about the rules that apply to Washington divorces can help you prepare for the end of your marriage.