Divorce can take months, and you may feel like your spouse is doing some questionable things during this time. One thing you might be worried about is that they’re trying to dissipate your marital assets.
Speaking broadly, this just means that they are attempting to squander or waste those assets. Maybe you had $50,000 in a savings account, for instance, that you didn’t plan to spend. But your spouse has started spending as much money as they can out of that account. They are doing this because they don’t want to split the account with you. If they can spend it all, then they get the benefits of that spending, but you don’t get your half of the account. How might they do it?
Buying things that they can’t return
The main thing that they’re going to do is buy something that can’t be returned or that has no value after the fact. If your spouse went out and bought a car, for instance, then it would simply become a valuable asset that both of you owned that would have to be divided in some fashion, likely by selling the car and splitting up the money. So they’re going to buy something that can’t be sold or converted back into cash.
For instance, they might spend excessively on vacations. Maybe they know the divorce is going to take six months, and they’re not working right now. They could start traveling the world, using up as much of that money as possible along the way. Even if you realize what they’re doing, they can’t return plane tickets for flights that they already took or return the cost of staying in a hotel or a resort. They get to have the fun trip that they wanted and you get nothing.
They could also simply spend it living more lavishly than normal at home. They may start going out for drinks every night with their friends or eating at fancy restaurants instead of buying something reasonable. They can’t return food, drinks and experiences, so that money is lost. They wouldn’t have wasted it that way if you were staying married, so you can see that they’re clearly doing it because this is the only way to keep you from getting it.
What can you do?
Fortunately, there are legal steps that you can take if your spouse has been dissipating your marital assets for this reason. You just need to know what options you have as you work through the property division process.