Property division matters often inspire intense disputes between divorcing spouses. In fact, some people will break the law and engage in clearly unethical conduct in their desire to alter the outcome of property division proceedings in a Georgia divorce.
Some people hide property to avoid sharing it with their spouse. There are others who will happily diminish the marital estate just so that they have less to share with their spouse. Dissipation or the intentional wasting of marital property can impact what a judge determines is fair when dividing the assets that belong to a couple in a contested divorce.
What kinds of actions may constitute the dissipation of marital property?
Destroying or discarding marital property
Some people will record video footage of themselves setting fire to their spouse’s wardrobe or smashing their gaming console. Such behaviors may feel temporarily cathartic for the person doing the smashing, but they have a negative impact on the value of the marital estate. Intentionally damaging or throwing away marital property can influence up the final division of assets in the divorce. Selling marital property for a fraction of its fair market value could also constitute dissipation, such as when someone sells their spouse’s work tools for $50 when they are worth thousands.
Creating debt or wasting marital income
Some people will intentionally try to use as much marital income as possible before filing for divorce or immediately after discovering that their spouse will soon file. Emptying the bank account on a shopping spree or maxing out household credit cards could both constitute acts of dissipation that will influence how the ports divide property and debts between the spouses. Especially when such behavior occurs at the time of the divorce filing and deviates from someone’s usual financial conduct, their spouse can easily build a claim based on their wasteful use of marital assets.
Spending money on an affair
Some people will spend tens of thousands of dollars paying rent at a secret apartment, covering the cost of hotel rooms and paying for expensive dinners while conducting an extramarital affair. The resources spent on an outside relationship that ultimately damages the marriage can also constitute dissipated marital property.
For those who suspect misconduct on the part of their spouse when preparing for a divorce, a thorough review of financial records is often very important. Proving the dissipation of marital assets can help someone obtain a more appropriate property division decree during their divorce proceedings.