What is the Dissipation of Assets?
A spouse’s spending habits during their marriage can have a large effect during the divorce process. These financial behaviors can be used to assign assets and award child and spousal support. However, when New York courts analyze how to distribute a couple’s assets, they look for the wasteful dissipation of assets — also known as marital waste.
If you’re filing for divorce in New York and believe your partner has spent your marital funds unjustly, here’s what you should know.
Marital Waste: Explained
Also known as the dissipation of assets, marital waste is defined as the intentional destruction or depletion of marital assets by one spouse, which would otherwise be split between the couple during divorce proceedings. Though New York is an equal distribution state, proving marital waste can affect the equal splitting of assets and lead to assets being forfeited to the affected spouse.
Examples of Marital Waste
As defined in New York, your marital estate comprises all assets, liabilities, real and personal property, and goods at the time of a divorce.
If a spouse wrongfully commits any of the following actions, dissipation of assets may be proven:
- Spending marital money on extramarital affairs.
- Transferring martial funds to another person before a separation.
- Spending unreasonable amounts on business expenditures.
- Selling marital assets below the market value.
- Spending money on illegal activities such as gambling, drugs, or prostitution.
Several questions go into deciding marital waste. During a divorce hearing, the court may ask the following:
- Did the spouse intend to spend the money solely on themselves?
- Did the spouse attempt to hide the withdrawal of funds?
- Did the spouse benefit or profit from the transfer of funds?
- Did the spouse spend high amounts of money close to the divorce?
- Did the innocent spouse agree with or consent to the spending?
However, using martial money for living expenses within reason is not considered marital waste. If you believe your spouse is spending your marital funds improperly, it’s essential to rely on an experienced New York divorce attorney to help fight for you.