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What Can I Do if My Spouse is Destroying Our Property?

Posted on in Divorce

st. charles asset division lawyer

When marriages begin to break down and spouses are in a period of high conflict, some people react by becoming destructive. Sometimes this is done out of frustration and a lack of effective anger management, and sometimes it is done in an effort to control or manipulate the other spouse during the divorce process. Whatever the reason, destruction and damage of marital assets can be frightening and concerning. 

Fortunately, Illinois law provides serious consequences for the destruction of marital assets. Formally known as “dissipation of marital assets,” destroying shared property prior to a divorce is against the law. It is important to understand what counts as dissipation of marital assets, and what remedies you may have if you have been a victim of this behavior. 

What is Dissipation of Marital Assets? 

Dissipation of marital assets is not limited to destroying shared property. Other kinds of behaviors that may constitute dissipation include: 

  • Substantial gambling losses

  • Money spent on an affair, including on fancy dinners and expensive gifts

  • Money spent on substance abuse 

  • Giving or loaning money or other marital property to a third party with the intent to get it back after the divorce

  • Allowing the marital home to fall into foreclosure

  • Deliberately failing to make payments on a vehicle so it gets repossessed

 

These and other forms of dissipation of marital assets can affect the way the court distributes marital property. Because Illinois is an equitable distribution state, courts are primarily concerned with splitting marital property in a way that is fair, rather than exactly equal. This gives courts wide leeway to use factors like dissipation when determining an appropriate property division. Spouses who are found to have dissipated marital assets can expect to lose the value of the dissipated assets from their share of property. 

How Can I Prove Dissipation of Marital Assets Occurred? 

Proving dissipation can be difficult and often requires some investigative work. Spouses who believe they are victims of dissipation must file a claim of dissipation of assets, and prove the following details: 

  • The dissipated asset was marital property

  • The dissipative behavior was not related to the benefit of the marriage

  • The marriage was irretrievably breaking down when the dissipation occurred

  • The victimized spouse did not consent to the dissipative behavior 

 

If one spouse claims that dissipation occurred, the spouse accused of dissipation must prove that their allegedly dissipative behavior was legal. Photographs, video evidence, bank statements, and other forms of documentation can be used by either party to make a case for or against dissipation. 

Speak with a Kane County Dissipation of Marital Assets Attorney

If you believe you have been a victim of dissipation of marital assets, an experienced Geneva divorce attorney can help you determine whether you are entitled to compensation. At Law Offices of Benedict Schwarz, II P.C., we have experience dealing with hostile divorces and will work hard to create a strategic plan for your divorce. To find out how we can help you reduce conflict and make the best of your situation, contact our offices today at 847-428-7725 to schedule your initial consultation. 

 

Source:

https://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs4.asp?DocName=075000050HPt%2E+V&ActID=2086&ChapterID=59&SeqStart=6200000&SeqEnd=8675000

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