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Understanding Dissipation of Marital Assets

 Posted on April 18, 2024 in Division of Property

IL divorce lawyerDissipation of marital assets is the legal term for when one spouse recklessly spends - or, more accurately, wastes - assets that belong to the marriage on something that benefits only himself without the consent of his spouse. Dissipating marital assets is more than being “bad with money” or making a few irresponsible or unnecessary purchases during the marriage. If your spouse dissipated marital assets, you are entitled to recover your fair share of the assets he wasted during the divorce process. Compensating one spouse for dissipated assets is part of the equitable distribution process in Illinois. Your Arlington Heights, IL divorce attorney can conduct a forensic financial analysis to determine whether your spouse’s misuse of marital funds amounts to dissipation.

What Is Not Dissipation of Marital Funds 

It is generally not considered dissipation of marital assets on one spouse’s behalf if:

  • Both spouses were involved - Even if you did not think your spouse’s spending was a good idea, if you were with him on the vacation he spent all your retirement savings on, you cannot claim dissipation. 
  • You benefited from the spending - If your spouse spent an unreasonable amount of money on something that benefited you both, like home improvements, it may not be dissipation. 
  • Your spouse used his separate assets - It is only dissipation if the assets used belonged to the marriage. If your spouse wastefully spent his own non-marital assets, this will not affect your divorce. 

Examples of Dissipation of Marital Assets 

Your spouse likely did dissipate marital assets if he spent a lot of money that belonged to both of you on:

  • An affair partner - If your spouse withdrew money from your joint account to take a vacation with his affair partner, this is a classic example of dissipation. Giving gifts to affair partners may also be considered dissipation. 
  • Gambling - If your spouse lost a lot of money gambling over your objections, he likely dissipated the lost marital funds. This is especially true if he hid his gambling losses or if you took steps to have his gambling problem addressed. 
  • Drugs or prostitutes - Money spent on illegal goods or services that only your spouse was involved with has likely been dissipated. The practical problem in this situation is that if your spouse is addicted to drugs, he may not have any assets to put toward paying you back.

Contact a Cook County, IL Divorce Lawyer 

Law Offices of Donald J. Cosley is committed to helping spouses recover dissipated marital assets during the divorce process. Experienced Arlington Heights, IL divorce attorney Don Cosley will personally handle all aspects of your case. Contact us at 847-253-3100 for a complimentary consultation.

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