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3 behaviors that may constitute the dissipation of marital assets

On Behalf of | Apr 4, 2023 | Divorce

Getting married often means sharing everything from housing and children to financial responsibility with a spouse. Unfortunately, some people eventually come to regret their decision to combine their finances with those of another person.

When couples divorce, they have to separate their bank accounts and financial responsibilities, as well as time with their minor children. Most property division matters focus on the issue of fairness related to a couple’s economic circumstances.

Allegations of dissipation can affect the concept of what will constitute a fair outcome to a particular couple’s property division matter. The dissipation of marital property involves someone purposefully and wastefully diminishing their shared marital assets. Numerous behaviors might constitute dissipation and lead to claims that ultimately alter the outcome of property division proceedings in a Massachusetts divorce.

What might constitute dissipation?

1. Wasteful spending

Some people enjoy retail therapy when they feel bad, which means that they may go out and spend an inordinate amount of money on themselves when contemplating or responding to a divorce filing. If someone either takes resources from a marital account or adds a significant amount of debt to marital credit card counts right before or after the filing for expenses that only benefit themselves, a judge may agree to consider those amounts when dividing other property.

2. Destroying or giving away marital assets

People can invest quite a bit of their income and resources into physical property and assets. They will have to value and split those assets when they divorce. Some spouses will intentionally give away marital property so that they don’t have to claim it and share it in the divorce.

Others will damage or destroy marital assets, possibly by shredding or burning someone’s clothing, for example. Finally, conducting sales of marital assets and accepting less than the fair market value for property like vehicles or electronics could constitute the dissipation of marital assets.

3. Spending marital resources on adultery

One of the most common reasons that people claim dissipation during property division matters is because they have evidence that their spouses spend a significant amount of money conducting an extramarital affair. Money spent renting hotel rooms, buying dinner or purchasing gifts while conducting an affair could constitute the dissipation of marital assets.

The more someone wastes or destroys, the greater the potential impact of their misconduct will be on a couple’s property division decree. Learning more about marital property laws can help those who are preparing for divorce court or property division negotiations with the assistance of an experienced legal professional.


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