How Wasteful Dissipation Can Impact Your Divorce

Divorce, while emotionally challenging, is also a legal process with financial implications. In the midst of the emotional turmoil, it's easy for individuals to overlook how their actions during the marriage's dissolution can impact the outcome.

One such factor is wasteful dissipation—the reckless spending or squandering of marital assets. In this blog, we'll explore what wasteful dissipation entails and how it can significantly impact the divorce proceedings.

What Is Wasteful Dissipation?

Wasteful dissipation refers to the misuse or squandering of marital assets by one spouse without the other's consent, particularly when the marriage is undergoing a breakdown.

Examples of wasteful dissipation can include the following:

  • Extravagant spending on non-essential items
  • Gambling
  • Funding an extramarital affair
  • Supporting substance abuse
  • Attempting to hide money or valuables
  • Frivolously gifting assets to relatives and/or friends

Essentially, any use of marital funds that does not benefit the marriage or family may be considered wasteful dissipation.

What Are the Legal Implications for Wasteful Dissipation?

From a legal standpoint, wasteful dissipation can have serious consequences during divorce proceedings.

Most jurisdictions consider marital assets to be jointly owned, and both spouses have a right to an equitable distribution of those assets. When one spouse dissipates marital assets, it unfairly reduces the marital estate available for distribution.

As a result, the court may offset this dissipation by awarding the other spouse a larger share of the remaining assets.

How Do I Prove Wasteful Dissipation?

Proving wasteful dissipation can be challenging, but it’s not impossible. Documentation is key in establishing a case of dissipation. Bank statements, credit card bills, receipts, and other financial records can serve as evidence of excessive or unauthorized spending. Testimony from financial experts or witnesses may also be necessary to corroborate the dissipation claims.

It's essential to demonstrate that the spending occurred at a time when the marriage was undergoing an irretrievable breakdown and that it wasn’t for the benefit of the family.

Legal Remedies for Wasteful Dissipation

In cases of proven wasteful dissipation, the court has several remedies at its disposal to address the imbalance caused by the reckless spending.

Some of these legal remedies include the following:

  • Monetary offset: The court may award the non-dissipating spouse a larger share of the remaining marital assets to compensate for the dissipated funds.
  • Reimbursement: The dissipating spouse may be ordered to reimburse the marital estate for the amount squandered.
  • Adjustments to support payments: In determining spousal or child support payments, the court may take into account the dissipation of assets and adjust the support accordingly.
  • Asset seizure: In extreme cases, the court may order the seizure or forfeiture of assets acquired through wasteful dissipation.

It’s important to note that while these remedies can help to rectify the loss incurred by a spouse’s reckless handling of marital assets, they may not fully compensate the victim spouse.

Consult with a Divorce Lawyer to Learn More

Consulting with a divorce lawyer is an essential step for anyone navigating the complexities of divorce, especially when issues such as wasteful dissipation are involved. A divorce lawyer can provide personalized legal advice based on the specific circumstances of your case and the laws governing your jurisdiction.

When you need help with such matters near Clearwater, Florida, reach out to Tinny, Meyer & Piccarreto, P.A.. Our attorneys have the necessary experience and skill to address your legal concerns and offer solutions that can help.

Learn more during an initial consultation. Contact us today to request one.