When a married couple decides to divorce, they will need to make decisions about multiple types of financial issues. In many cases, couples will be able to negotiate a divorce settlement that details how they will divide their marital property. However, there may be some situations where a couple will be unable to reach an agreement on these issues, and if their case proceeds to litigation, a judge will make the final decisions about how their assets will be divided. While couples can usually benefit by working together to reach a settlement and avoiding litigation, there are times when a trial may be necessary, including in cases where one party has committed asset dissipation.
What Is Asset Dissipation?
When a couple is married, they may both be involved in managing their family’s financial affairs, and they may both make purchases or use money or property in a way that benefits the family. However, there are some situations where a spouse may use marital funds or other property that is jointly owned by the spouses for their own benefit and for non-marital purposes. If a person can show that their spouse dissipated assets during their marriage or during the divorce process, they may ask that the court require the other spouse to repay the marital estate for the dissipated assets. If this will not be possible, other marital property may be divided in a way that addresses the dissipation, such as by granting the non-dissipating spouse a larger share of the marital estate.
Asset dissipation can involve multiple uses of marital property for the sole benefit of one spouse. For example, a spouse may engage in an extramarital affair, and they may use marital funds to buy gifts for a paramour, take vacations with that person, or stay in hotel rooms. A person may also dissipate assets by spending money on a gambling or drug addiction, or they may intentionally destroy property or waste money in order to cause financial harm to the other spouse.
Illinois courts have defined asset dissipation as an improper use of marital property during a period while a couple’s marriage was experiencing an “irretrievable breakdown.” To make a successful asset dissipation claim, a spouse will need to show that the dissipation occurred after they had begun to experience relationship issues or after they encountered other factors that eventually led a spouse to pursue divorce. An asset dissipation claim cannot address dissipation that occurred more than five years before a spouse filed a petition for divorce, and a person must make a dissipation claim within three years after they learned about or should have known about the dissipation.
Contact Our Oak Park Asset Dissipation Lawyer
If you believe that your spouse has wasted or misused marital assets either while you were married or during your divorce, Law Office of Vincent C. Machroli, P.C. can help you determine how to address this issue. We will help you take legal action to ensure that your marital property can be divided fairly, and we will work to protect your financial interests and ensure that you will have the resources you need to support yourself after your divorce is complete. Contact our Hillside property division attorney at 708-449-7404 to schedule a free consultation today.