Obtaining a fair outcome during the property division process is often one of the primary goals people set during divorce proceedings. However, there are some people who will go to extremes to punish their spouse financially for perceived failings during the marriage or to feel like they “win” during the divorce.
There are many kinds of financial misconduct that can alter the outcome of property division unfairly and which people, therefore, need to watch out for throughout their divorce proceedings. In some cases, the bad behavior of one spouse could actually alter the outcome of property division because it constitutes dissipation or the wasteful diminishment of the marital estate. These are some examples of the dissipation of marital property that could influence how a judge splits a couple’s assets during a divorce.
Destroying or throwing out property
One of the more common forms of dissipation involves the destruction or elimination of marital assets. Examples include someone donating their spouse’s wardrobe to charity without their permission or selling all of their work tools online for less than 10% of their fair market value. Someone who maliciously destroys or gets rid of marital property might unfairly reduce the total value of the estate in a way that would negatively affect their spouse.
Spending money or increasing marital debt
Some people go on shopping sprees right before they divorce and buy themselves new clothing or furniture. Others use marital credit cards until there is essentially no available credit left and a high balance due. Whether someone withdraws every cent from a shared checking account used by the spouses or maxes out the household credit cards, their frivolous and unusual spending habits could constitute dissipation.
Using marital property on an affair
One of the most common forms of dissipation involved the misuse of marital income or assets while conducting an extramarital affair. Using joint credit cards to buy an affair partner presents or take them out to dinner is an unfair misuse of marital property. Those that have proof of how much their spouse spent on the affair may be in a position to exclude certain debts from the pool of marital property or ask the courts for reimbursement for the amounts spent conducting the affair previously.
A thorough review of financial records may be the first step toward uncovering evidence of financial misconduct during divorce proceedings. Understanding the kinds of bad behavior that influence divorce rulings may benefit those who want justice from the family courts after their share of the marital estate has been wrongfully squandered by a spouse.