Facing a divorce is extremely overwhelming, especially when considering the various components involved such as custody, alimony, and dividing the property among the parties. The goals for divorce proceedings should be to have all the properties and moneys divided evenly, but rarely are proceedings this simple. There are a number of aspects to consider when dividing the property among the spouses. One of these components includes wasteful spending.
Types of wasteful spending
If a partner in a marriage wastes a substantial amount of money (otherwise known as “economic fault” or dissipation), the other partner in the marriage may be entitled to receive more property to compensate for the loss. This is particularly important if the couple is in debt because of the wasteful partner’s spending habits. There is a variety of wasteful spending including:
- Excessive gambling and/or drinking purchases
- Spending that led to bad behavior
- Giving substantial amounts of money away (and against the partner’s wishes)
- Spending money on romantic relationships outside of the marriage
When divorce proceedings begin, the partner who accuses another partner of wasteful spending can have his/her attorney look at bank records and further investigate the expenditures. The accused then needs to try to justify the spending or that the amount of money spent was evened out in some other way during the marriage.
Business transactions and recreational activities
While wasteful spending certainly plays a role when dividing assets, there are instances where substantial amounts of money are used by either partner that are not considered to be wasteful spending. For instance, if a spouse uses the couple’s money to invest in a legitimate business venture that fails, then such a loss would not be considered wasteful spending because there would have been a profit had the business venture been successful.
Another type of spending that is not counted in wasteful spending is money being used by activities enjoyed or approved of by the couple. For example, Jill and Frank have been married for ten years. For nine of those ten years, Frank has been an avid bicyclist and would spend a good amount of money every year on his hobby. All the while, Jill has supported Frank in his hobby and even showed up to biking events. In this situation, if Jill and Frank decide to go through a divorce, Jill cannot accuse Frank of economic fault because she approved of the biking.
Do you need a divorce attorney?
Dividing property among a divorced couple is complicated and usually very emotional. If you are going through a divorce, you need to make sure you have the strong legal guidance of a divorce attorney. For example, if in the Dallas, TX area, contact Khavari & Moghadassi. In Madison WI? Contact the Law Offices of Annen Roetter. Or, if you think mediation may be a viable option to help divide the property, consider talking to Steele, George, Schofield, & Ramos, mediation lawyers in Walnut Creek, CA. If you are not sure how the divorce and wasteful spending may affect your estate, contact an estate planning attorney at the Law Offices of Mary Anne Vance in Seattle WA.
If you are having trouble finding a lawyer, consider contacting a Lawyer Referral Service like the Columbus Lawyer Finder.
The materials provided in this blog are for informational purposes only, and are not guaranteed to be correct, complete or current, and should not be relied on as legal advice. You should consult a lawyer if you need help with a legal matter and not rely on anything you read on this blog or elsewhere on the web.