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Dissipation of Assets in a High Net Worth Divorce Case: What You Need to Know

Posted on in High Net Worth Divorce

Geneva high net worth divorce lawyerProperty and debt division are crucial aspects of any divorce case. However, in a high net worth divorce, the stakes are even higher. The way that spouses divide assets and debts will likely have a massive influence on both spouses’ post-divorce future. Marital misconduct like infidelity or abuse does not typically influence how Illinois courts divide assets in a divorce. However, if a spouse “dissipated” or wasted assets near the end of the marriage, the spouse may be required to reimburse the marital estate for the lost property or funds. Dissipation of assets can significantly impact the property division process.  

Destruction or Misuse of Marital Property in an Illinois Divorce

Dissipation of assets occurs when a spouse sells, uses, destroys, or spends marital property in an inappropriate manner while the marriage is nearing its end. Illinois law specifically states that dissipation involves the use of marital assets:

  • For the benefit of only one spouse
  • For a purpose not related to the marriage
  • At a time when the marriage is experiencing an irreversible breakdown

Examples of Dissipation of Assets

Paying household bills and making reasonable purchases consistent with past spending behavior is not dissipation of assets. Dissipation occurs when a spouse wastes assets.

Some examples of situations that may constitute dissipation of assets include:

  • Spending significant money on an affair partner
  • Excessive gambling
  • Spending excessive money on drugs or alcohol
  • Intentionally not paying shared bills such as the mortgage
  • Destroying assets to deny the other spouse his or her fair share of the property
  • Giving large amounts of cash to friends, family, or lovers

Timing is Crucial in a Dissipation of Assets Claim

Not all wasteful or destructive financial behavior is considered dissipation of assets. To count as dissipation, the spending must have occurred when the marital relationship was “undergoing an irretrievable breakdown.” The language used in Illinois law is ambiguous and it can be hard to know exactly when a marriage has begun a breakdown. However, courts usually consider a marriage to be in a breakdown when the spouses are no longer living like a married couple and have stopped trying to salvage the marriage.

Recouping Money and Property Lost to Dissipation

If your spouse destroyed property, spent significant funds on a secret lover, sold property to fund an addiction, or otherwise wasted assets, you may have a dissipation of assets claim. You may be entitled to a larger share of the marital estate to make up for the lost assets.

Contact a St. Charles Property Division Attorney

If you are getting divorced and your spouse ruined, sold, used, or spend assets in a wasteful manner, you may have a dissipation of assets claim. To learn more, contact the skilled Geneva divorce lawyers at Law Offices of Benedict Schwarz, II P.C.. Call our office at 847-428-7725 for an initial consultation.





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