Category Archives: Division of Assets

What Should I Do If I Suspect My Spouse of Dissipating Marital Assets?

DuPage County asset division attorneyIf you and your spouse are on the verge of divorce or have already filed for divorce, you may notice that your spouse is engaging in particularly unusual spending patterns. Be it gambling all the time, neglecting to pay certain bills, or spending exorbitant amounts of money on major purchases without your consent, your spouse might be dissipating marital assets. That is the legal term for when your spouse acts irresponsibly with your joint finances leading up to and during a divorce. Evidence of this dissipation of marital assets can be brought before the court to ensure that you are adequately compensated for any frivolous spending, thereby securing fair and equitable division of property and assets during the divorce. Below are some practical steps you can take if you suspect that your spouse is dissipating assets.

Steps to Take If You Suspect Dissipation

All is not lost if you think that your spouse is cheating you out of assets in real time. There are a few things you can do to protect yourself against dissipation of marital assets:

  1. Compile and analyze all statements from joint accounts. Before you can even move forward with any further action in regards to marital asset dissipation, you need to determine whether your concerns are legitimate enough to spend the time and resources on researching the facts and then arguing your case in court. You need to be particularly perceptive. For example, in reviewing these statements, you should:

    • Compare statements from prior months and years. Is there anything unusual or otherwise different about items in recent statements?

    • Be aware that more salacious spending tends to show up on bank and credit card statements as very generic company names. If you notice thousands of dollars spent at “General Store, Inc.” or the like, that could be a fake name to hide where the money is actually being spent.

  2. Keep in mind all the typical traits of marital asset dissipation spending. For instance, as you review the bank and credit card statements, consider the following:

    • The spending patterns must be unusual or out of the ordinary, showing a deviation from the norm relative to prior months and years. One-off expenses may not justify your case; the spending needs to be consistent and substantial.

    • The expenses must be significant or otherwise exorbitant. Even if your spouse has spent more money than usual on a particular product or service, if it is not a sizable amount of money, then it will be difficult to make your case.

    • Finally, the spending is more often than not frivolous, meaning it is not a necessity for daily living, unrequired for the marriage and family, and most likely unauthorized by you.

  3. Engage the assistance of an attorney and a forensic accountant. The forensic accountant will meticulously search for unauthorized, unnecessary, and irresponsible spending. Odds are even if you have proof of dissipation, the forensic accountant will find even more evidence to bolster your argument. Your lawyer will know how best to advise you and successfully present your case in light of these findings.

Contact a DuPage County Divorce Lawyer

Always be aware of you and your spouse’s spending, especially when on the brink of divorce or going through a divorce. In many cases, a spouse might spend irresponsibly or neglect to pay bills out of spite. If you need guidance about these and other divorce issues, contact a skilled Wheaton, IL asset dissipation attorney. The Andrew Cores Family Law Group will help you figure out the appropriate strategy to either put an end to such frivolous spending and make sure you receive your fair share in the divorce settlement. Call our office today at 630-871-1002 for a free consultation.



How Do Pet Ownership Trends Affect Illinois Divorce Cases?

Wheaton property division lawyer for pet ownershipFor many couples, pets become a part of their family. In fact, couples who do not have kids often treat their pets more like children, caring for them and their best interests as if they were the couple’s own offspring. As a result of this growing trend, the legal system has recently needed to adapt, and when it comes to divorce, pet custody has become a much more complicated issue.

Trends in Pet Ownership

It is true: pets are becoming more and more a part of our families. Your cat might rub its head against you out of warm affection, or your dog might try to comfort you with a lick on the face when you are upset. It is easy to see why pets are viewed as sentient beings like children as opposed to property. Statistics show that this trend is likely to continue:

  • On average, more than half of the households in the U.S. have pets.

  • The majority of pet owners today are millennials, many of whom are childless and, in a sense, use pets as a proxy for children, caring for them in much the same way.

  • The American Veterinary Medical Association conducted a survey that says 80% of pet owners view their pets as members of their family.

The Latest Laws Concerning Pets

For years, pets have been viewed as property by the legal system. This means that during the divorce process, when the judge, the lawyers, and the spouses would consider who should get the pets, they would make such a determination in much the same way that they would decide on who gets a car or a couch. However, due to the recent trends in pet ownership, new legislation has passed that moves the legal system more toward viewing pets as what they are: living, breathing beings who many argue deserve many of the same rights as people. In particular, the following legal decisions have been made recently:

  • Outlawing Animal Cruelty—By 2014, all 50 states had passed legislation making it illegal to be cruel to animals. In November of 2019, a bipartisan bill was signed into law that made animal cruelty a federal crime, a major step forward in moving the legal definition of animals away from mere property.

  • Pet Protection Orders—In at least 34 states, if you suspect abuse toward a pet, you can request that a judge include that pet in protection orders related to domestic violence. This does not just protect the pet against harm; it also proves that pets are no longer viewed as property in the legal system.

  • Pet Custody—In three states, including Illinois, laws have been passed that enable pets to be viewed more like children in divorce cases. In Illinois, the well-being and best interests of the pet should be given thorough consideration when determining who will own the pet, similar to how a child’s well-being and best interests are considered during child custody hearings. In fact, in all three states where these laws have passed—Alaska, Illinois, and California—judges have the right to assign either sole ownership or joint ownership of pets to divorcing spouses. Many other states are considering adopting such laws as well.

Contact a DuPage County Pet Custody Lawyer

If you are considering a divorce, and you are wondering what will happen with your pet, contact a Wheaton divorce attorney at 630-871-1002 for a free consultation. Andrew Cores Family Law Group will guide you through the process and help you ensure that the well-being and best interests of your pets are taken into consideration every step of the way.