One of the most challenging behaviors to deal with during an Illinois divorce is a spouse’s irresponsible financial habits. Although financial disagreements are one of the most common reasons for divorce and many couples are dissatisfied with each other’s spending and saving habits, sometimes reckless financial behavior moves beyond carelessness into something that may be considered “dissipation of marital assets.” If you have heard about dissipation and are wondering whether a dissipation claim may help you in your divorce, read on.
What is Dissipation?
Dissipation is common enough in Illinois divorces that the Illinois Supreme Court has given it a specific definition. When a marriage is irretrievably breaking down and one spouse uses marital property such as funds in a savings account or from a home equity line on things unrelated to the marriage, this may be considered dissipation. Simply taking yourself out to lunch when you and your spouse agreed not to eat out is probably not dissipation, however. Common examples of dissipation include excessive gambling, cash gifts given without permission, money spent on an affair, and destroying property.
How Can I Prove My Spouse Dissipated Marital Property?
Before dissipation can be proven, you will need to estimate when your marriage began “irretrievably breaking down” – that is, when the relationship permanently began to end. You will also need to show how much money was spent, and on what. Your attorney may be able to subpoena financial records, such as credit card statements and savings account withdrawals to prove dissipation occurred. Photographs of destroyed property, of a spouse out on a date with a new lover, or even testimony from a subpoenaed family member that they received a large “gift” of money may be used as proof of dissipation.
How Can Money Be Recovered?
Dissipated funds can sometimes be recovered by giving the spouse who was victimized by the dissipative behaviors a larger portion of the marital estate. However, recovering dissipated money is not easy and it may be impossible if there is an insufficient amount of marital property to compensate a spouse with. For example, if one spouse has secretly spent $40,000 of a couple’s savings account on gambling, the other spouse may get $40,000 more when the marital home is sold and the value is split. But if one spouse has spent $200,000 from a couple’s home equity line of credit, it may be impossible to make up that difference. An experienced attorney can help you determine whether you should file a dissipation claim.
Talk to a Wheaton, IL Dissipation Lawyer
Dealing with a spouse who has engaged in dissipative behaviors during your divorce can be incredibly frustrating. At The Stogsdill Law Firm, P.C., our experienced DuPage County divorce dissipation attorneys have helped spouses prove dissipation and recover their fair share of marital property. To learn more about how dissipation can be proved and how we may be able to help you, call us now to schedule an initial consultation. Contact us at 630-462-9500.