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