If this is your issue let me introduce you to your new favorite word, it’s called “dissipation” – how to make him (or her) re-PAY.
To the men out there, please don’t be offended, because while my example above makes the husband the “bad guy”in this situation, it definitely goes both ways.
In Illinois, a partner may allege that his/her spouse is guilty of “dissipation,” which means – spending martial funds for purposes unrelated to the marriage at a time when the marriage is suffering an irretrievable breakdown. An easy example of this is the jewelry a husband buys for his girlfriend or the trip the wife takes her boyfriend on. A more complicated scenario exists when a partner spends large sums of cash and fails to account for the money in a meaningful way.
If you are ending your marriage, or feel the end may be near, and you believe that your spouse is spending money for purposes that don’t advance your marriage, when you file for divorce, you need to make a formal allegation of that in your court documents. Then, you can work with your attorney to identify those suspect transactions in detail, i.e., credit card charges, cash withdrawals or checks you believe went for expenses unrelated to your marriage. Once identified, your attorney will prepare a formal Claim of Dissipation to be filed with the Court. Once you testify that your partner made the expenditures and they did not benefit the family, the burden of proof shifts to the spender to show by clear and convincing evidence what the cash or purchases were for. In re the Marriage of Blunda, 702 N.E.2d 993. General explanations like “I used the money to pay bills” are not enough to avoid a finding of dissipation.In re Marriage of Toole, 653 N.E.2d 456.
Dissipation is decided on a case by case basis. A Judge will ultimately measure the credibility of all of the evidence and testimony you and your spouse present at trial. If your partner cannot meet his/her burden and explain what he/she did with the money and how that benefited your family, the court is likely to find dissipation at a certain amount and award that to the spender as a marital asset. Even though the money is gone – in theory – it’s counted as a piece of property your partner gets on the way out the door. Let me give you a simple example – using round numbers. Without your spouse’s dissipation, your marital estate would have been worth $100,000. However, the judge found that he spend $10,000 for purposes not benefiting your marriage, and now you only have $90,000 left to distribute. The Judge adds back the $10,000 of dissipation and treats it as an asset. Now your estate is made whole – you are back at $100,000. Let’s say the Judge determines that the assets will be split 50/50. You will be awarded $50,000 and your husband will take $40,000 plus his $10,000 of dissipation – which is money he’s already spent.
This is the legal way to make someone re-PAY!