Caring, Professional and Ethical

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Is your spouse spending extra before divorce?

On Behalf of | May 14, 2024 | Property Division

You and your spouse have been discussing divorce, and you feel like it’s been going fairly well. You are hopeful that it will be an amicable divorce. Perhaps you were worried that your spouse would be unwilling to even discuss it or be unhappy about the idea, but they seem to have gone along with it better than you anticipated.

However, you take a look at some of your financial accounts, like your credit card bill, and you notice some unexplained spending. Since you talked about the divorce, it seems that your spouse’s spending has increased dramatically. What is happening and could it be related to that divorce?

Dissipating marital assets

What may be happening is that your spouse is attempting to dissipate marital assets. This just means spending them frivolously or wasting those assets.

The reason people do this is because they know that marital assets have to be split up during property division. For instance, perhaps the two of you have $40,000 in the bank, and you both anticipate getting $20,000. But if your spouse can spend $20,000 before the divorce happens, then you would each get $10,000. They would have essentially taken $10,000 from you by spending it in advance.

One key component is that they often try to buy things that can’t be returned or that have no value after the fact. If they buy physical assets, those can still be subject to property division. But if they buy food, drinks, entertainment, flights, hotel rooms and other things of this nature, there’s nothing to split up.

Your divorce might be more complex than you realized. Be sure you know exactly what legal steps to take.