The Intentional Dissipation Of Assets During A Florida Divorce
Financial issues are common during divorce, with couples often unable to agree on how they will fairly divide their marital assets. In some high-conflict cases, one spouse may even try to rob the other of some property by intentionally spending an asset, transferring it to a third party, or attempting to hide it. When this happens, the wronged spouse can seek an adjustment of the terms of the settlement agreement, requesting a larger portion of a different asset from the court.
Dissipation Can Result in an Inequitable Property Settlement
Florida’s equitable distribution standard requires couples to split up their assets in an equitable manner in the event of divorce. One of the things that judges can consider when determining what type of arrangement would be fair in a particular case is whether either of the spouses intentionally dissipated, wasted, or depleted marital assets. Furthermore, judges don’t only look at transactions that have occurred since a couple filed for divorce, but can even review transactions that took place as early as two years prior to the filing.
Examples of Dissipation of Marital Assets
There are a lot of different scenarios that could give rise to allegations that one spouse is dissipating assets, including:
- Gambling with marital property;
- Selling assets to a friend or relative for far less than they are worth;
- Spending marital funds to support a drug or alcohol addiction;
- Making payments to a romantic partner; and
- Making reckless, unnecessary, and expensive purchases.
Reckless spending isn’t the only thing that qualifies as dissipation of assets for equitable distribution purposes. Basically, dissipation includes any intentional removal of assets from the marital estate if that removal was intended to keep the asset from being distributed during divorce. For instance, a spouse who transferred an asset to a family member for the duration of a divorce could face sanctions for wasting assets.
Remedies for the Dissipation of Marital Assets
If a court finds that a spouse wasted or attempted to hide assets to avoid sharing them upon divorce, then it can take a couple of different steps, one of which is to hold the wrongdoer in contempt of court. These orders come with directions to avoid future reckless spending, fines, and other sanctions. A person who ignored such an order would find him or herself in real legal
trouble. Besides holding the wrongdoer in contempt of court, a judge will also most likely award a larger portion of the couple’s marital assets to the wronged party in an effort to make up for the other spouse’s unethical conduct.
Schedule a Free Case Review Today
If you believe that your spouse is purposely wasting assets to avoid a fair property settlement, please call experienced Florida property division lawyer Sandra Bonfiglio, P.A. for legal help right away. You can schedule a free consultation with a member of our team by calling 954-945-7591 or by sending us an online message. We are standing by and prepared to get started on your case right away.