Recovering Funds Lost to Dissipation
Dissipation of assets refers to instances when a spouse who is either in the process of getting divorced or will soon divorce, purposely wastes marital assets. If you are getting divorced and your soon-to-be-ex-spouse has wasted marital assets through reckless spending, gambling, drug use, or through other means, you should know that there is a legal process for recovering these funds. Read on to learn the specific criteria which must be met in order to claim dissipation, as well as learn how you can reclaim the money that was wasted.
Dissipation in Illinois Defined
Not just any type of spending is considered dissipation. The spending must happen during a specific time and meet other criteria in order to be considered dissipative. The Illinois Supreme Court provides the legal definition of dissipation. In Illinois, dissipation is the “use of marital property for the sole benefit of one of the spouses for a purpose unrelated to the marriage at a time that the marriage is undergoing an irreconcilable breakdown.”
Marital property is generally considered any property which was accrued during the marriage. The money spent does not have to be part of a joint bank account in order to be considered marital property. So, even if your husband or wife used his or her own bank account to fund the wasteful spending, you may have a valid dissipation claim. Any asset which would have been divided during a divorce is considered marital property. Some assets like gifts or inheritance awards may not be considered marital property.
Spending Must Be for One Spouse’s Sole Benefit
Money which was spent toward groceries, a mortgage payment, household bills, or other family expenses cannot be considered dissipation. The wasteful spending must have been only for the benefit of the spouse spending the money. The spending must also be excessive. A spouse who occasionally buys lottery tickets will probably not be successfully accused of dissipation. However, a spouse who spends thousands of dollars gambling may be. Likewise, a spouse who takes a secret date for dinner will probably not be guilty of dissipation, but one who buys a luxurious diamond necklace and other expensive gifts for their secret partner may be.
An Irretrievable Breakdown Occurs When a Marriage is Ending
In order to be considered dissipative, wasteful spending must take place after the “irretrievable breakdown” of the marriage. This point is reached when the spouses have stopped trying to salvage the marriage and are headed for divorce. Of the criteria necessary for proving a claim of dissipation, this is often the most difficult to prove.
Practiced Family Lawyers in Geneva, Illinois
If your spouse has wasted marital funds, contact The Law Offices of Douglas B. Warlick for help. Our experienced Kane County divorce attorneys can help you recover the misused money, as well as provide guidance throughout your divorce. Call us at 630-232-9700 today.