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Can I Recover Marital Funds That My Spouse Wasted at the End of Our Marriage?

Posted on in Division of Assets

DuPage County family law attorneysIt is an unfortunate reality that divorce can sometimes bring out the worst in people. When a marriage is ending, spouses can sometimes act in ways which deplete the martial estate. They may purposely waste marital funds so that the other spouse does not have access to them or they may have an expensive drug, alcohol, gambling, or shopping addiction which drains the estate. If you are getting divorced and your spouse has squandered shared assets, you may be able to recover these assets through a dissipation claim.

Illinois Law Regarding Dissipation of Assets

The term “dissipation” generally means to waste or spend resources frivolously or recklessly. With regard to divorce law, dissipation occurs when a spouse uses marital funds for a purpose not benefiting the marriage after the marriage has suffered an “irretrievable breakdown.” There is some ambiguity about what exactly constitutes this breakdown, but it is generally defined as the moment that a married couple ceases attempts at reconciliation. In other words, an irretrievable breakdown occurs when divorce is imminent.

Examples of Dissipation

The Illinois Supreme Court has defined dissipation as the sale or use of marital property “for the sole benefit of one of the spouses for a purpose unrelated to the marriage.” This means that using marital funds for household bills or a mortgage payment is not dissipation. If a husband used thousands of dollars of martial funds on a vacation for him and his secret girlfriend during the end of his marriage, it is very likely that this would be considered dissipative. Similarly, if a wife has a substance abuse problem and spends a significant amount of money on drugs after the breakdown of her marriage, her spouse could claim dissipation. Spouses may also be able to file a dissipation claim when marital property “goes missing” and the other spouse cannot account for why the money or property was used.

Recovering Funds Lost to a Reckless or Wasteful Spouse

If you think your spouse has wasted funds near the end of the marriage, you may be able to recover these funds through a dissipation claim. If you and your legal counsel are able to find evidence that your spouse misused funds, you could receive a larger share of the marital estate to compensate for the dissipated assets. Proving dissipation can be quite challenging, especially if your spouse is attempting to conceal the dissipation. To maximize your chances of recovering these funds, get help from a qualified divorce lawyer who has experience recovering dissipated or hidden assets.

Contact Naperville, Illinois Family Law Attorney

For help with any part of the divorce process, contact a knowledgeable DuPage County divorce lawyer from Pesce Law Group, P.C. today. Call 630-352-2240 to schedule a free consultation.

 

Sources:

http://www.illinoiscourts.gov/Opinions/AppellateCourt/2012/2ndDistrict/2091339.pdf

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/documents/075000050K503.htm

https://www.forbes.com/sites/jefflanders/2016/11/01/what-is-dissipation-of-assets-in-divorce-and-what-if-anything-can-you-do-about-it/

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