It would be great to believe that those who choose to marry each other are able to be decent and fair people if they decide to divorce. This, sadly, is not reality. The truth of the matter is that divorce often turns otherwise reasonable individuals into the worst versions of themselves. One of the most egregious examples of this behavior is when spouses chooses to squander joint marital assets to spite the people they are divorcing.
The most common form of marital asset dissipation is when a person who has a significantly higher income than his or her spouse chooses to waste the money that the two of them have accumulated as a joint asset. For the high-earning spouse, leaving the marriage with a small piece of deflated assets will be inconvenient, but not ultimately too harmful. Maddeningly, this kind of spiteful behavior can leave a low-earning spouse, especially one who sacrificed his or her own career advancement in order to keep a home may be facing extreme difficulty rebuilding a life and re-entering the workplace.
If you believe that you may be the victim of marital asset dissipation, you will want to be very careful how you proceed. A spouse who believes that he or she has been caught in this behavior may react erratically and cause further harm. Patiently gather all the documentation that you can to reconstruct what your financial state was prior to when the hurtful behavior started, and consider enlisting the help of a forensic accountant who can investigate the more complicated elements of finances you may not have the experience to adequately research.
With the proper documentation, you do have a good chance of a court ruling in your favor in a marital asset dissipation claim. Depending on the nature of the wasteful spending and the remaining assets, the remedies may vary, but is will almost certainly be more favorable than if you had simply done nothing. With the guidance of an experienced attorney, you can explore your options to claim a fair division of assets with confidence.
Source: Forbes, “What Is Dissipation Of Assets In Divorce And What, If Anything, Can You Do About It?,” Jeff Landers, Nov. 01, 2016