If you and your spouse get divorced, you’re generally required to disclose the assets that you own. The court will ask for this declaration if you and your spouse aren’t settling your situation out of court so that they can assist with dividing property in an equitable – but not necessarily equal – manner. As such, failing to disclose assets or intentionally trying to hide them is not allowed and could lead to serious ramifications.
What you’ll find is that people sometimes decide to dissipate marital assets, rather than hide them. This may be done if one spouse is feeling spiteful or angry about the end of the marriage. How is dissipation different?
Wasting and spending the family‘s funds
Essentially, dissipation is the process of wasting the money and assets that the couple has. One common example could occur if your spouse is a high earner. They know that you have a much lower earning capacity than they do, so they waste as much of the family’s savings as they can before the divorce, simply assuming that they will then get to spend the money on themselves. They know that they can earn that money back after the divorce, but they also understand that you’ll have a harder time doing so.
Now, if they’re wasting money on tangible goods, they may not effectively keep them from you. Maybe they bought a new sports car or a vacation home. They may have done this frivolously, but it’s a marital asset, so you may have a right to its value as well.
To get around this marital property issue, people will sometimes dissipate assets by spending them on things that cannot be refunded or resold. For instance, your spouse could begin taking lavish vacations, going to expensive sporting events or taking trips across the country. They know that they can’t refund things like plane tickets or resort stays after they’ve been used, so they get the benefit of enjoying what the money has purchased them and you get nothing at all.
What options do you have?
If you find yourself in this situation, your divorce it’s probably going to be fairly contentious and financially complicated. Make sure that you are well aware of all of the legal options that you have, as there are ways to effectively seek justice in the face of dissipation.