What Is "Wasteful Dissipation" of Marital Assets?

What Is "Wasteful Dissipation" of Marital Assets?

Posted By R. Gregory Colvin LLC || 9-May-2017

In a divorce, one of the biggest issues relates to marital assets and, in a particularly nasty battle, one spouse might choose to employ tactics to reduce the settlement their soon-to-be ex-spouse will receive. One way to do this is by deliberately spending assets, which is also known as “wasteful dissipation.” However, this move will likely backfire on the spouse who chooses to use this underhanded maneuver.

Wasteful Dissipation Explained

Spending money and selling assets are not always examples of wasteful dissipation. Whether or not a financial decision was wasteful is decided on a case-by-case basis due its subjective nature. There are some characteristics the court looks for when determining spending or transactions as intentionally wasteful and vindictive. This includes:

  • Excessive gambling
  • Frivolous shopping
  • The selling of property or business interests for much less than their fair value
  • Expenses related to extramarital affairs
  • Excessive spending on drugs, alcohol, or partying
  • Intentionally failing to preserve assets, such as allowing a home to go into foreclosure

When Spouses Waste Assets and Funds

In a marriage, there is often either a blurred line or no line at all between financial accounts. Often, spouses either have access to each other’s accounts, or have a joint account. This makes it incredibly easy for a spiteful spouse to use the funds in these accounts to make lavish purchases, go on shopping sprees, or gamble away marital savings. This behavior does not go unnoticed by the court and will come back to haunt the wasteful spouse during divorce proceedings.

The Effect of Wasteful Dissipation on a Divorce Settlement

Florida is an equitable distribution state. When assets are intentionally or excessively wasted, the court holds this kind of behavior against the responsible spouse when the time comes to make a decision regarding the equitable distribution of assets and property. To factor in a spouse’s wasteful financial conduct, the court will charge the value of the spent assets against that party’s equitable share, reducing the amount he or she receives.

If you expect an impending divorce in your marriage and choose to react by behaving financially irresponsible with assets, you will only cause yourself more problems that will cost you in the long run. You might be angry with your spouse, but wastefully spending assets will harm you much more than it will harm your ex. If you suspect your spouse is engaging in this behavior, bring up the issue with your divorce attorney.

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R. Gregory Colvin advocates for women in the divorce process, empowering them through personal, financial, and legal difficulties they encounter in family courts. We are here to help you understand your rights, familiarize yourself with all available legal options, and navigate you through the best course of action for your case. With over 25 years of legal experience, you can be confident in our lead divorce attorney’s ability to handle your case.

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Categories: Divorce

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