Moreover, situations can become more heated if one of the spouses is spending money and wasting assets. What can you do if you suspect your spouse is being too free with the marital money?
Illinois allows one side in a divorce to make an allegation that the other side is committing dissipation. Dissipation is a legal term that means wasting assets. Once an allegation of dissipation is made, the other side has the burden of proving that he or she is not wasting the assets.
The court will usually hold an evidentiary hearing where both sides can present their case. The side making the accusation will usually present evidence of the dissipation.
What Actions Are Considered Dissipation?
The law is vague about all of the ways in which someone can commit dissipation. However, the general principle is that one spouse is spending money or assets on items for him or herself, and is doing so without the permission of the other spouse. Classic examples of dissipation include excessive gambling, spending money on affairs, substance abuse, and excessive shopping sprees.
The court is not interested in weighing in on every transaction made in a couple’s marital history—dissipation is generally over large amounts of money. How far the court can look back to find dissipation is also unclear. However, the closer the spending is to the date of the divorce filing, the more likely the court is to find dissipation.
If the Court Finds Dissipation, Then What?
When the court makes a finding that one side engaged in dissipation of the marital assets, a dollar value will be assigned to the amount wasted. The side that engaged in the improper conduct will have to repay the spouse.
Since the court has the duty to divide the assets equitably, the act of dissipation has to be taken into account when the assets are split. The judge may divide the assets as if there was no dissipation and then subtract the cost of the dissipation from the one spouse’s assets column and award that amount to the other spouse. The spouse who committed the dissipation may have to make payments to the other spouse after the divorce.
Consult with a Skilled Illinois Family Law Attorney
If you have questions about divorce or property division, please contact skilled a DuPage County family law lawyer today. Call Sullivan Taylor & Gumina, P.C. at 630-665-7676 to schedule a consultation.