Dissipation of Assets: When a Spouse Wastes Assets
Unfortunately, divorce can sometimes bring out the worst in people. Some couples who decide to end their marriage are able to do so with relatively little malice, while others fight tooth and nail throughout the entirety of the divorce process. If you are considering or have already decided to divorce and you think your spouse may try to “get even” with you by recklessly spending money or otherwise wasting assets, read on to learn about a legal concept called dissipation.
What Is Considered Dissipation According to Illinois Law?
The Illinois Supreme Court defines dissipation as “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 irretrievable breakdown.” Marital property generally refers to income, property, and debt accumulated by either spouse during the course of the marriage. Certain assets such as gifts or inheritance may not be considered marital property. The term “irretrievable breakdown” means that the marriage is ending. A couple who has stopped sharing a bedroom, does not enjoy time together, and does not wish to salvage the marriage would be considered in the midst of an irreconcilable breakdown.
Examples of Dissipation
Dissipation occurs when a spouse spends marital assets in a way which does not benefit the couple during the collapse of their marriage. A revenge-seeking spouse who wishes to hurt the other may sell assets or spend money just to ensure the marital property does not end up in the hands of the other spouse. Other examples of dissipation may include money spent in relation to gambling, alcohol, or drug addiction. If a spouse has bought expensive gifts or otherwise spent money on a secret boyfriend or girlfriend during the end of the marriage, this may be considered dissipation as well.
Bringing a Dissipation of Assets Claim Against a Reckless Spouse
If you are getting a divorce and your spouse has been carelessly spending marital property, you may have a valid dissipation claim. Illinois law dictates that those alleging dissipation must do so no more than three years after finding out about the dissipation. If a spouse waits too long to file a dissipation claim, it may be thrown out by the court.
Contact a Qualified Illinois Family Law Attorney for Help
Do not hesitate to contact a qualified divorce lawyer for help recouping assets lost to dissipation. The experienced Kane County family law attorneys at MKFM Law can help with all aspects of a divorce. Call 630-549-0960 for a confidential consultation today.