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Dissipation of Assets or Reasonable Spending: What is Marital Waste?

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Dissipation of Assets or Reasonable Spending: What is Marital Waste?

dissipation of assets long island divorce

Property division during divorce is a contentious issue that couples must resolve before they part ways.

The state’s statutes heavily influence the court’s decision regarding property division (be it equitable distribution or community property). Some divorcees, however, feel entitled to a larger portion of the marital funds, claiming that their soon-to-be-ex spouse’s financial mismanagement or irresponsible spending habits “wasted” their funds.

Understanding the Concept of Marital Waste

Marital waste refers to the intentional dissipation of assets by one spouse for their personal benefit. This occurs when one party squanders shared finances or other marital assets for designer clothing, extravagant vacations, and other lavish ventures.

In some cases of divorces in Long Island, one spouse will deliberately deplete shared finances to reduce the amount of wealth or property their ex-spouse will walk away with after the divorce. The intent to deny the other spouse their fair share, however, isn’t always essential for a judge to consider their spending as “wasteful.”

As mentioned, the details regarding the dissipation of assets will vary by jurisdiction. Most states follow different statutes to determine if a marital waste claim is valid.

Validation of Dissipation of Assets

Many states require the wasting of marital assets to take place around the same time that the marriage broke down. There should also be evidence of the spouse intentionally depriving the other party of their finances or assets. This means a divorcee cannot make a waste claim simply because they didn’t agree with their ex-spouse’s spending habits.

Marital waste claims are also invalid if the spouse uses the money for legitimate household expenses. In its June 30, 2016 decision in the Appellate Division, Third Department declared that spouses could use marital assets during divorce if they are paying for legitimate living expenses.

On the other hand, if the other party spent a sizable amount using joint credit cards after the separation, the ex-spouse has a legitimate claim.

How a Claim Can Hold Up

The amount of money spent by the soon-to-be-ex-spouse plays a significant role in proving a marital waste claim. Not all divorcees are entitled to marital waste compensation just because they think the other party is being irresponsible with their money.

It is important to consult with a legal professional for help in proving the claim. Divorcees who have legitimate concerns that their ex-partner squandered significant marital assets on purpose to deprive them of their fair share must speak with an attorney. Divorce lawyers can help clients gather enough evidence to prove their spouse’s waste of finances or assets.

Once the court proves the dissipation of assets, it will hold that conduct against the squandering spouse. They will also consider the missing assets in conducting its analysis on how to divide the contributions between the spouses.

If you feel that your spouse is intentionally dissipating funds or gambling away shared property, do not prove their conduct on your own. Instead, seek legal counsel from The Law Offices of Ian S. Mednick, P.C. Our divorce attorneys will assist you with your case and work towards achieving favorable results.

Get in touch with us today for a FREE consultation.