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Holding a spouse accountable for dissipating marital assets

Divorce has the potential to bring out the absolute worst behavior in some individuals. People become angry about the end of the marriage even if they want to divorce. They resent the idea of sharing resources or parenting time with their spouse. They want to secure justice from the courts, and if they doubt the likelihood of receiving it, they may take matters into their own hands.

People often engage in misconduct immediately before filing for divorce and during the divorce process that may seem very different from their normal character. Someone who is typically kind and generous might empty the marital checking account by buying many luxury outfits. Some people even open up brand new lines of credit and then max them out by buying golf clubs with the expectation their spouse has to help them pay it off.

Attempts to destroy marital property might involve giving away property or selling it for far less than it is worth. If someone seems to have wasted marital resources out of spite, is it possible to hold them accountable for that misconduct?

Action is needed to hold someone accountable

Financial misconduct may be obvious to someone who remained married to their spouse for years but may not be as clear to the courts. Spouses hoping to demand accountability for the dissipation of marital assets need evidence showing that the spending was unusual and unnecessary.

Different people and households have different financial habits. What seems wasteful and frivolous in one case might be common for another family. Someone who wants to hold their spouse accountable for financial misconduct needs to gather financial evidence and then present it in a compelling and understanding way to the courts.

People often require the support of an attorney and possibly a financial specialist, such as a forensic accountant, to improve their chances of success in a complex litigated property division process. Provided that someone can show that their spouse’s spending was atypical and intentionally wasteful, the amounts that someone spent or the debts that they accrued could influence other property division decisions.

Paying close attention to financial matters while preparing for divorce proceedings may help people identify misconduct that could complicate property division in a high-asset divorce. Divorces involving more complex, high-asset marital estates may be more likely to involve financial misconduct, like the dissipation of assets.