Wasteful Dissipation of Marital Assets Explained

An issue that is frequently disputed in divorce cases is money. From the financial arguments that caused the couple to split up, to spouses trying to hide assets from one another, money often makes the divorce process messy. In some cases, one spouse will try to ruin another’s credit by making extravagant purchases or taking out high interest loans that the other spouse will be responsible for. In this blog, we explain what you need to know about wasteful dissipation.

What Is Considered Wasteful Dissipation?

Dissipation refers to when a spouse conceals or wastes marital assets in preparation for a divorce, though it can also be more than this. Selling a property for the benefit of one spouse over the other without a reason relating to the marriage, can constitute wasteful dissipation during a divorce proceeding. For the most part, wasteful dissipation occurs when marital funds have been wasted in a foolish manner.

Married couples often combine their financial resources and usually have joint bank and credit accounts that both spouses can access. This means that once a couple decides to divorce, they might still have access to each other’s card numbers and online banking information.

With such ease of access to each other’s financial information, it is fairly simple to make purchases and overdraw a spouse’s account. This can lead to major disputes when one spouse does not authorize the other to make extravagant purchases.

During a divorce proceeding, the court will consider what "contributions" were made by each spouse throughout the marriage. They will also closely consider any "negative" contributions, including wasteful dissipation of assets.

Examples of wasteful dissipation of marital assets includes:

  • Gambling
  • Intentionally creating debt
  • Spending excessive money on drugs and alcohol
  • Using money to finance an extramarital affair

Proving wasteful dissipation can be a complex and difficult matter, which is why you should hire an experienced divorce attorney if you think your spouse has been wasting your marital assets.

Contact our team of divorce attorneys in St. Louis to schedule a free consultation today.