If divorce is on the horizon for you and your spouse, now is the time to become a financial sleuth. There is a possibility that your spouse uses their feelings of anger or resentment to jeopardize the divorce, even if affects them negatively. One common tactic some partners use to hurt their exes is wasting marital assets.
Here are a couple of ways to deal with a spouse who dissipates or wastefully spends equitable distribution marital assets.
Inventory assets and gather evidence
Take inventory of all financial and retirement accounts and assets that you know of. Look for receipts and documentation of purchases that highlight your partner’s wasteful spending. If necessary, work with a forensic accountant to uncover problematic spending behaviors that showcase your spouse’s intent to misuse marital assets due to divorce.
Establish a history of dishonest financial behavior
Depending on how far you are in the divorce process, there’s the possibility that your spouse’s erroneous spending activity began before the filing date. Make copies of bank statements and other documents that show changes in your soon-to-be ex-spouse’s spending habits that support claims of marital asset dissipation.
The courts do not take attempts to circumvent divorce law lightly. Penalties for dishonest partners who spend or waste marital assets include a reduction in their divorce award to increase the innocent spouses’ divorce settlement.
Disappearing assets are not always easy to identify. Discovering them can lead to some serious consequences for the perpetrator. Unlike hidden assets where intent does not matter, dissipating assets is an intentional act that carries legal consequences.