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The dissipation of marital assets during a divorce

On Behalf of | Nov 28, 2023 | Divorce, Marital Property |

You and your spouse finally agree to an uncontested divorce. Now, all that is left for you to do is to divide your marital property equitably. An equitable division of marital property ensures neither spouse is at a financial disadvantage after the divorce. It is usually achieved by gathering your assets, determining their value and negotiating a fair settlement for both parties.

However, property division proceedings may trigger one spouse to waste or spend assets excessively to reduce their former partner’s share. They deliberately misappropriate their marital property to punish their spouse. Their intention could be to ensure you have fewer assets after the divorce.

What can you do if you suspect your spouse is dissipating assets?

If you believe your spouse is dissipating assets during your divorce, you must bring it to the court’s attention. To have a valid claim that your spouse is dissipating marital assets, you must be able to prove the following:

  • Your spouse spent marital assets on purchases and expenses that in no way contributed to the marriage or the family.
  • Your spouse intended to reduce the marital funds available for property division.

The timing of the expenditures will be pivotal, as will any form of financial infidelity and concealment. Receipts matter. In Maryland, the court may consider your spouse’s dissipation of assets a factor in arriving at an equitable monetary award that your spouse will owe you.

How to tell if your spouse is depriving you of your fair share

It can be challenging to spot when your spouse is dissipating assets, especially when you have already commingled your property and the assets you own are complex. They could be selling business shares earned during the marriage to third parties or transferring marital funds to a trust. The discovery process could be an effective way of obtaining full financial disclosure.

Everything you earned throughout your marriage is subject to an equitable division. Legal action may be necessary if you have reason to believe your spouse is trying to rob you of your fair share.