Is My Spouse Guilty of Wasteful Dissipation?

In a divorce, spouses sometimes get vengeful. When this happens, they simply want to “win” or “defeat” the other spouse, and they lose sight of what’s best for the future. They can use dirty tactics to hurt one another, with the sole purpose of inflicting pain. One such tactic is wasteful dissipation.

In this article, we will give a broad definition of wasteful dissipation. Afterward, we will offer helpful indications of whether your spouse is guilty of this act.

What Is Wasteful Dissipation in a Divorce?

In a marriage, there is generally two types of property: marital and separate. Each spouse owns marital property equally, and separate property belongs to just one person.

When couples split property in a divorce, they divide the marital assets. Generally, this is any property that was acquired during the marriage, regardless of who initially paid for it.

Wasteful dissipation is the willful act of draining the marital assets, leaving the couple with little to split in the divorce. Doing this doesn’t benefit the wasteful spouse in the long term. Spite is the only motivation, and the only goal is to leave the other spouse with less.

Signs of Wasteful Dissipation in a Divorce

Wasteful dissipation is not the same as being careless with your money. If your spouse was always wasteful, it may be hard to prove intentional dissipation.

Here is some evidence of wasteful dissipation you can use to help prove your case.

The Money Cannot Be Recovered

Remember, any property you acquire during the marriage could be divided in the divorce. If your spouse is buying jet skis, new cars, and expensive jewelry, this may not be an example of wasteful dissipation. Ultimately, these items can go to either party after the divorce.

Wasteful dissipation is more calculated than that. The goal is to spend money that you cannot recoup. If your spouse is going on expensive vacations, gambling, buying expensive gifts for friends, and so on, they could be guilty of dissipation.

There Was a Sudden Change in Spending

Wasteful dissipation is not a long-term pattern. A spouse who is careless with their finances is probably not guilty of dissipation. Intentional dissipation happens all at once, or it begins when the marriage starts falling apart.

You can work closely with your attorney to secure financial records. If you see an excessive spending pattern suddenly emerge, your spouse may have intentionally wasted money to leave you empty-handed.

Other Forms of Wasteful Dissipation

There are other ways to accuse your spouse of this action. They are much harder to prove in court, so you must work closely with your attorney to build a strong case.

Essentially, if your spouse hid spending during the marriage, you may be able to accuse them of wasteful dissipation. Usually, this secretive spending is on something they don’t want you to know about. Perhaps they are hiding an addiction to gambling, drugs, or alcohol, or maybe they are spending money on an extramarital affair.

Benefits of Proving Wasteful Dissipation

Since wasteful dissipation is not technically a criminal act, your spouse will probably not face criminal charges. However, divorce court can act like a civil court. It can compensate one spouse financially for the other spouse’s bad behavior.

If your spouse is guilty of intentionally wasting money, you may be able to:

  • Receive a greater amount of spousal support
  • Receive a greater portion of the leftover assets

If you suspect your spouse of intentionally wasting assets, our firm can help. You can schedule a free consultation with us online, or you can call us now at (904) 701-0591**Consultation fees may apply to family law consultations.

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