Court finds that wife dissipated marital assets

Dissipation of marital assets is a serious issue that often arises in Chicago divorce cases. The dissipation of marital assets is defined as the use of marital property by one spouse for his or her own benefit for a purpose unrelated to the marriage during a time when the marriage is breaking down.

The dissipation of marital assets is often relevant in the division of a marital estate and can be used to lower a spouse’s property award. What constitutes a dissipation of marital funds depends on the facts of a particular divorce case.

One recent case involves the dissipation of funds during divorce proceedings. The dissipation occurred in association with false accusations made during the divorce.

False accusations are common in acrimonious divorce cases. One recent Cook County divorce case involved a wife who was married to a doctor who she accused of sexually abusing her children. The abuse allegations were taken seriously by a court which ordered all of the doctor’s visits to his children be supervised.

Subsequent investigations by the court and the Department of Children and Family Services indicated that the wife’s accusations were unfounded.

A psychiatrist and court-appointed evaluator found that instead of deliberately lying about the abuse, the wife suffered from “delusional disorder” which caused her to have an unfounded elevated risk of violence toward her children. This finding prompted a reversal of custody. The father was granted temporary custody of the children and his wife’s visitation was ordered to be supervised.

The court found that the court’s ordering of supervised visitation was the direct result of the wife’s false allegations. Without the false allegations, the $6,923.75 in supervised visitation fees would not have occurred, so the fees constituted a dissipation of marital assets for the sole benefit of the wife during a breakdown of the marriage. The wife was ordered to pay the fees and the attorneys fees associated with her appeal.

Source: Patel v. Patel, 2013 IL App (1st) 112571, June 28, 20134

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