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What You Should Know About Divorcing a Gambling Addict or Compulsive Shopper

Posted on in Divorce

gambling, Rolling Meadows divorce lawyerAny divorce is challenging, but divorcing a spouse who struggles with an addiction can be especially legally complex and emotionally burdensome. For some, compulsive spending is a coping mechanism used to deal with negative emotions or memories. Studies show that purchasing a new item releases a feel-good hormone in the brain which is similar the effects of drugs and alcohol. Gambling addictions can occur when a person convinces themselves that the only way to fix their financial situation is to finally win big. Unfortunately, the big win rarely comes and the house always wins. If you plan to leave a spouse who sometimes acts in financially reckless ways, you should take steps to protect yourself personally and economically.

Separate Your Finances As Soon As Possible

When you decide to leave a spouse who is a compulsive shopper, gambling addict, or who may otherwise waste marital funds, you should take steps to separate your finances as soon as possible. Illinois state law dictates that only shared property, called marital property, will be divided during a divorce. Once you decide to divorce, you must make sure any assets you accumulate from then on will be considered separate property which is not subject to division. One way to accomplish this is to get a legal separation. Simply living apart is not the same as being legally separated and does not afford the same legal protections. Another way to protect yourself financially is to request a court order that prevents your spouse from accessing certain assets like saving accounts or retirement accounts.

Work with an Attorney to Recover Dissipated Assets

The term “dissipation of assets” refers to property which is wasted by a spouse during the end of a marriage. The Illinois Supreme Court has defined dissipation as property “improperly used for the sole benefit of one spouse, for a purpose unrelated to the marriage, at a time when the marriage is undergoing an irreconcilable breakdown.” An irreconcilable breakdown means that the marriage has reached a point where the spouses are not trying to salvage the relationship. For example, if a husband and wife discussed divorce as a legitimate possibility and then the wife went out and emptied the joint bank account with frivolous purchases, this would likely be dissipation. Likewise, a husband who spends thousands of dollars on a mistress during the end of a marriage may be an example of dissipation.

Contact a Rolling Meadows Divorce Attorney for Help

If you have questions about divorce, dissipation of assets, child support, or other family law issues, contact the Arlington Heights family law attorneys at the Cosley Law Office. To schedule your free initial consultation call us at 847-253-3100 today.

Sources:

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/documents/075000050k503.htm

https://scholar.google.com/scholar_case?case=15110838312195309394&q=In+re+the+Marriage+of+O%E2%80%99Neill,+138+Ill.2d+487,+563+N.E.2d+494,+498+(1990).&hl=en&as_sdt=4,14

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