The “dream” divorce, if there is such a thing, is one in which both spouses are amicable with each other, still respect one another, and are willing to work together. While this may be a reality for a lucky few, the majority of divorces are going to involve some degree of animosity between the spouses. In some cases, the tension between the spouses can get so bad that a spouse will do anything in his or her power to keep their soon-to-be-ex from getting their fair share of marital assets. In these cases, the spouse may do what is considered marital asset dissipation.
What is Dissipation?
The Illinois Supreme Court defines dissipation as the “use of marital property for the sole benefit of one of the spouses for a purpose unrelated to the marriage at a time the marriage at a time the marriage is undergoing an irretrievable breakdown.” Dissipation can include intentional wasting, spending, destroying or otherwise squandering marital assets for the simple purpose of depriving the other spouse of the asset. Examples of dissipation can include:
- Gambling and losing money
- Not paying mortgage payments, especially when it was agreed that the spouse would
- Spending money on a new partner
- Withdrawing or transferring large amounts of money
- Making uncharacteristically large or unusual purchases
- Destroying marital property, such as burning photographs
What You Can Do if Your Spouse Has Dissipated Assets
Illinois practices what is known as equitable distribution when it comes to dividing marital assets. This means that each spouse will not necessarily receive half of the assets, but they will receive a portion that is considered fair by Illinois courts. For some spouses, receiving a larger portion of marital assets actually does make sense and is necessary for their financial futures. When the other spouse dissipates a portion of those assets, the spouse in need is no longer getting what they deserve. Claiming dissipation can help recover some of the lost assets.
To start dissipation investigations, you must provide notice to the court that you intend on claiming dissipation no later than 60 days before your trial or 30 days after the close of the discovery process, whichever is later. In the notice, you should provide information about the property that was dissipated and when the dissipation took place. If the judge accepts the dissipation and feels as though there is enough evidence to support your claim, they will factor the dissipation into your property allocation.
Our DuPage County Asset Dissipation Attorneys Can Help
Though it is not entirely uncommon for a spouse to be vengeful during a divorce, it can be devastating to be on the other end. If your spouse has dissipated a portion of your marital estate, you should contact our skilled Elmhurst, IL asset dissipation lawyers for assistance. At Weiss-Kunz & Oliver, LLC, we understand how important it is for you to receive your fair share of your marital estate. Call our office today at 312-605-4041 to schedule a consultation.