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Can I Stop My Spouse From Wasting Marital Assets in Our Illinois Divorce?

 Posted on November 30, 2021 in Divorce

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One of the most challenging parts of any divorce is the property division process. Ideally, a couple can work together to create an agreement for splitting their assets and debts equitably. However, sometimes court intervention is required for spouses who cannot negotiate productively or when there are other extenuating circumstances. 

One of the circumstances under which a court may get involved in dividing property is when one spouse has engaged in wasting, or “dissipating,” marital property. In this blog, we will discuss what marital asset dissipation is, how it can be proven, and how dissipated assets might be recovered. 

What is Marital Asset Dissipation in Illinois? 

A spouse can dissipate marital assets in many ways, but all forms of dissipation have one thing in common: Wasting, misusing, or extravagantly spending on things unrelated to the marriage when the relationship is undergoing an irretrievable breakdown. Some of the most common forms of dissipation include: 

  • Gambling

  • Intentionally failing to make payments on the marital home or vehicles

  • Spending sprees or large purchases

  • Spending money on a new partner 

  • Transferring money or concealing assets

Although it can be difficult to pinpoint exactly when the marriage begins breaking down irreparably, it is usually considered to be after a couple has stopped trying to reconcile and divorce becomes inevitable. 

Proving and Recovering Marital Asset Dissipation

For dissipated assets to be recovered, one spouse must let the court know that they are planning to claim that the other spouse engaged in dissipative behaviors. This must be done at least 60 days before trial or no later than 30 days after the end of the discovery process when documents and evidence are being gathered. The more evidence a spouse can provide, the better; details about the dissipated assets, bank statements, receipts, and photos can all be evidence to support the claim. 

If dissipation is successfully proven, the remedy is generally that the person who has dissipated assets will lose the approximate value of those assets in the property division process. Because Illinois is an equitable division state, the property division process must be fair rather than exactly equal. Courts can and do let dissipative behaviors influence the asset division. 

Schedule a Consultation with a Cook County Dissipation Attorney

Dealing with a spouse who seems intent on wasting your hard-earned assets can be a frustrating and even frightening experience. At A. Traub & Associates, we have helped many divorcing spouses recover dissipated assets, and our Palatine, IL property division lawyers will advocate passionately on your behalf for an equitable asset division. Call our offices today at 847-749-4182 to schedule a confidential consultation. 




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