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What will happen if your spouse dissipates marital assets?

If you and your spouse are divorcing on bad terms, you will likely worry they will make your life difficult during proceedings. You two may have significant marital property, and while you will leave it alone, they might have plans to dissipate it. Whether or not your spouse moves forward with their plans, you must take steps to protect your assets.

Defining dissipation

The dissipation of marital assets happens when one party in a divorce squanders or disposes of shared property in a manner that leaves the other party at a disadvantage. To meet its threshold, the act must also benefit the dissipating party. Some common forms of dissipation include:

  • Buying expensive vehicles, boats or collectibles
  • Selling marital property below market value
  • Gambling
  • Spending money on alcohol or drugs
  • Spending money on an extramarital affair
  • Transferring marital property to relatives or friends
  • Neglecting to pay shared bills

Preventing dissipation

Because Georgia follows equitable distribution laws, you and your spouse will split your marital property in a fair manner during your divorce. This division may not be even, but it will reflect each of your needs and circumstances. To ensure this happens, a mutual restraining order will be issued to uphold the status quo of your marital property. This order is automatic in many Georgia divorces, and will compel you and your spouse against interfering with it.

Keep in mind that a mutual restraining order might not stop your spouse from dissipating marital assets. Yet, they could face contempt of court charges if they do. As a penalty, they may have to pay your attorney’s fees. Furthermore, they may have to forfeit a share of marital property that they would have otherwise received.

Maintaining the status quo of your marital property is crucial in keeping the playing field of your divorce level. By understanding your options for protecting your assets, you can work to receive the share of them you deserve.