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Understanding Dissipation in Divorce Proceedings

Posted on in Division of Assets

Naperville family law attorneyWe all have different opinions about how money should be spent and how we prioritize various considerations in our lives. When a couple gets married, they must find a way to reconcile their differing views so they can live within their means without undue stress and disagreement in financial matters. When a marriage breaks down, however, each spouse’s economic habits may become an issue, especially if that spouse is spending marital funds on his or her own interests. According to Illinois law, a spouse who wastes marital assets on purposes unrelated to the marriage may be required to pay some or all of the money back to the marital estate during a divorce.

Knowing the Law

If you are going through a divorce, you have a responsibility to maintain reasonable spending habit so that the marital estate is not negatively affected before it can be divided. By law, in fact, your responsibility begins when your marriage starts to break down. Any assets that you spend, waste, destroy, or devalue inappropriately may be considered dissipated, which could create serious problems in your divorce

Dissipation is an issue because the marital estate effectively belongs to both spouses before it is divided in a divorce. If one spouse recklessly spends a large portion of it, his or her partner is also negatively impacted.

Claims of Dissipation

If you believe that your spouse has spent money inappropriately in the weeks and months leading up to your divorce, you will need to bring the matter to the attention of the court. Your notice to claim dissipation will need to include:

  • The specific assets that you believe were spent, devalued, or devalued;
  • The date or period during which your marriage began to break down beyond the point of being fixable; and
  • The date or period during which the alleged dissipation occurred.

The dates are an important factor because if the spending occurred—regardless of how reckless or wasteful it may have been—before the marriage began to break down, it is not considered pertinent to the divorce. Such use of assets is only dissipation if it occurs after the marriage has begun an irretrievable breakdown.

Any assets determined to have been dissipated will need to be reimbursed to the marital estate. The offending spouse may not be required to pay back everything, but at least enough to cover the other partner’s share of the dissipated property. Alternatively, the court could order that the offending spouse’s portion of the marital estate should be reduced by a percentage of the value of the dissipated assets.

Property Division Lawyers in Naperville

If you have been accused of wasting marital funds or you believe your spouse has done so, an experienced DuPage County divorce attorney can help. Contact the offices of Pesce Law Group today and get the guidance you need in securing an equitable divorce settlement.


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