Some couples are able to set their differences aside to achieve an amicable divorce. Despite what went wrong in the marriage, they treat each other with dignity and respect and negotiate until they reach a fair and satisfactory divorce settlement, one they can both feel good about. But unfortunately, not all couples are this fortunate.
Other couples have highly contentious divorces. Instead of treating each other with respect, their emotions and behavior are fueled by jealousy, resentment, anger, or spite, or sometimes all the above. One of the ways these negative feelings will be demonstrated is through what’s called “wasteful dissipation of marital assets.”
To Intentionally Squander Marital Assets
Wasteful dissipation of marital assets refers to a spouse who intentionally squanders marital assets for the purpose of depriving the other spouse of their rightful share of the marital estate. How does a spouse do this? There are many ways, especially if it involves a high-asset divorce.
A spiteful husband might pay for his girlfriend’s apartment with marital funds, or he might pay several of her bills. A wife may “loan” her younger brother $30,000 to pay off his student loan debt, or she might give her parents $15,000 to pay for her dad’s uninsured medical costs. A husband may drop $10,000 in Las Vegas over a weekend, while a spiteful wife may spend thousands on plastic surgery.
When it comes to wasteful dissipation of marital assets, usually the spouse would rather throw the money away or give it away than have to split it with their spouse in a divorce. Often, the rationale is, “I can earn the money back after my divorce.”
What is a minor bump in the road for a wealthy breadwinner, can mean a major financial blow for a dependent spouse, especially if he or she has been out of the workforce to care for the couple’s children.
Do you suspect that your spouse is wasting marital assets at your expense? If so, an Automatic Temporary Restraining Order (ATRO), which goes into effect once the divorce is filed, can help by prohibiting your spouse (and you) from changing the financial status quo. Additionally, if you have a high-net-worth divorce, you may want to add a forensic account to your divorce team – they are great at uncovering hidden and wasted marital assets.