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How one spouse’s misconduct can alter post-divorce finances

On Behalf of | Jul 11, 2023 | Property Division |

When people get married, they combine their income and households to secure a better standard of living for both spouses. When they divorce, they have to find a way to split up their shared assets and establish separate households. Oftentimes, divorce leads to at least a temporary reduction in someone’s standard of living as people have to re-budget their finances and acquire assets for their separate households.  Especially when one spouse earns less than the other, the transition can be a challenge.

After an equitable distribution of marital assets, most people will be able to begin rebuilding their lives. Unfortunately, in some cases, the misconduct of one spouse can have major implications for the other both during and after the divorce.

One spouse may waste marital assets

Some people allow their emotions to get the better of them during a divorce, and will look for ways to lash out at their spouse in any way that they can. Taking actions intended to manipulate property division proceedings is one of the more common ways that people misbehave during a divorce.

If someone resents the idea of sharing their property with their spouse, they may intentionally start wasting marital assets so that there is less to divide. The dissipation of marital assets might involve someone spending a large amount of money to max out their shared credit cards before filing for divorce. They could also empty a bank account or intentionally destroy shared property.

In some cases, dissipation involves selling assets for far less than their fair market value. Additionally, it may be possible to treat the money spent on an extramarital affair as dissipation in many cases. Provided that one spouse can prove with financial records, receipts or social media posts that the other intentionally diminished their shared resources, they can potentially request that a judge adjusts the property division decree to reflect the other spouse’s choice to waste or destroy marital property.

Being able to recognize a spouse’s financial misconduct as the dissipation of marital assets is often the first step toward securing economic justice during a divorce. Seeking legal guidance is often the second.

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