Reeder & Brown, P.C.



Divorce Lawyers Assist With Claims of Wasteful Spending of Marital Funds

At Reeder & Brown, P.C., we know that there is virtually no limit to the complications that could present themselves in the course of a divorce. Many of these challenges are financial in nature, and they may become evident during the processes of identifying, evaluating, and dividing marital property. For some couples, wasteful spending of marital assets by one spouse may be a significant issue to address. If you are getting divorced, and you believe that your spouse has been spending marital money recklessly, our skilled attorneys can help you file a claim of dissipation in your divorce.

Understanding Dissipation in Illinois

The Illinois Supreme Court has defined "dissipation" as the use of marital assets for the benefit of only one spouse while the marriage is undergoing an irretrievable breakdown. Such spending is frequently an issue in contentious divorce cases. Dissipation may also include the destruction of or failure to maintain marital property, such as real estate or personal belongings, and this type of behavior may result in a decrease in the total value of the couple's marital estate. A party who spends money in this way or destroys marital property may be held liable for the mishandled assets. However, it is up to the other spouse to file a claim of dissipation and ensure that this issue will be addressed properly during the divorce process.

Dissipation Claims Attorneys in Bolingbrook and Joliet

When you file a dissipation claim, you will need to address two primary points of concern. First, you must show that the assets lost or the money spent was not used for purposes related to the marriage. For example, if your spouse withdrew a large amount of money from your joint savings account and used it to pay off the remaining debt on one of the family's cars, such spending is probably not going to be counted as dissipation. The overall value of your marital property will not have changed. If the withdrawn funds were used to pay for your spouse's trip to the Bahamas with a new romantic interest, however, a finding of dissipation is much more likely.

The second concern is the timing of the spending. The law only recognizes spending as dissipation if it occurred after the marriage had begun to break down. Bad financial habits are not considered dissipation if the marriage is otherwise healthy. You must also raise your claim within three years of finding out about your spouse's actions, assuming the marriage had started to break down at the time of the spending. Additionally, there is a cutoff period of five years prior to the initiation of divorce by filing a petition for dissolution of marriage. Any spending or destruction of property that occurred prior to the cutoff period will not be considered dissipation by the court.

If the court determines that dissipation has occurred, the offending party will be required to reimburse the marital estate. The court also has the authority to subtract the value of the dissipated assets from the share of the marital property that the offending spouse would have otherwise received. By doing so, the court ensures that the non-offending spouse will not have to suffer financially due to the other party's behavior.

Naperville Lawyers Protecting Your Rights

The lawyers at Reeder & Brown, P.C. have more than 30 years of combined legal experience, and we have handled many divorce cases that involved claims of dissipation. If you suspect that your spouse has been spending recklessly, we can help you analyze your finances to determine what is happening. From there, we will work to hold your spouse accountable for his or her wasteful spending so that you can receive an appropriate share of the marital estate. If you have been accused of dissipation, we are also equipped to assist you in showing that your spending was permitted under the law.

Contact Our Joliet Asset Dissipation Lawyers

To learn more about the dissipation of marital assets and how such spending could affect your divorce, contact our office. Call 815-885-5980 for a free, confidential consultation with a member of our team. We represent clients in Joliet, Bolingbrook, Plainfield, New Lenox, Aurora, Crest Hill, Homer Glen, Naperville, Romeoville, Lockport, Mokena, Will County, and the surrounding areas.

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