Divorce can be a complex and emotionally difficult process, especially when it comes to dividing marital assets. In some cases, one spouse may attempt to dissipate or waste marital assets to prevent the other spouse from receiving their fair share of the property the couple owns together. Thankfully, Illinois law provides remedies to address the dissipation of assets and ensure a fair distribution of marital property.
What Is Dissipation of Assets?
Dissipation of assets refers to the intentional wasting, depleting, or hiding of marital assets by one spouse during the breakdown of a marriage or during the divorce process. This can include excessive spending, gambling, giving away assets, or transferring funds to other accounts without the other spouse’s knowledge or consent. It is important to note that dissipation can only occur after the marriage has begun to permanently break down.
When one spouse dissipates assets, they are essentially depriving the other spouse of their fair share of the marital estate, which goes against the principle of equitable distribution in Illinois. Equitable distribution requires marital property to be divided fairly, but not necessarily equally, based on factors such as each spouse’s needs and their contributions to the marriage.
Proving Dissipation of Assets
In order to address the dissipation of assets, the affected spouse must provide evidence to show that dissipation has occurred. This can be done by presenting financial records, bank statements, credit card bills, and other relevant documents that demonstrate the depletion or wasting of marital assets. The dissipated assets must have been used for the sole benefit of the dissipating spouse and not for the benefit of the marriage or the family.
It is important to note that not all financial decisions made during the marriage can be considered dissipation. For example, using marital funds for normal household expenses or to maintain the marital lifestyle would not be considered dissipation. However, spending marital funds to further an extramarital affair, wasting money on gambling or drug addictions, or intentionally destroying property with the intent of causing financial difficulties for one’s spouse would be considered dissipation, as long as these actions took place after the couple’s relationship had begun to break down.
Remedies for Dissipation of Assets
If the court determines that dissipation of assets has occurred, it can take various remedial actions to address the issue and ensure a fair distribution of marital property. Some possible remedies include:
Reimbursement: The court may order the dissipating spouse to reimburse the marital estate for the value of the dissipated assets.
Offset: The court may offset the dissipated assets by awarding the other spouse a larger share of the remaining marital assets.
Temporary restraining orders: The court may issue orders meant to prevent any further dissipation of assets during the divorce process, such as by prohibiting a spouse from transferring money from joint accounts, making large purchases, or using marital property for anything other than regular expenses.
Attorney’s fees: The court may order the dissipating spouse to pay the legal fees incurred by the other spouse that were necessary to address the dissipation claim.
Contact a Dupage County Dissipation of Assets Lawyer
If you suspect that dissipation of assets has occurred either during your divorce or after your marriage had begun to break down, it is crucial to consult with an experienced divorce lawyer who can protect your rights and financial interests. At [[title]], our Bloomingdale property division attorneys can help you gather the necessary evidence to show that your spouse used marital assets improperly, and we can work with you to file a dissipation claim and ensure that you receive a fair an equitable share of the marital estate. Contact us at [[phone]] to schedule a free consultation with one of our knowledgeable divorce attorneys. We understand the complexities of dissipation claims, and we will work tirelessly to help you address the legal and financial issues in your case.