Married couples may not always see eye to eye on financial matters, but certain expenditures may constitute a wrongful waste of marital assets. The dissipation of assets can contribute to the breakdown of a marriage, and misspending can cause unreasonable hardship to a person’s spouse during a marriage and after a divorce.
The wrongful dissipation of assets may play an important role in the divorce process, particularly if it occurs once a divorce is underway. If someone’s spending unreasonably harmed a spouse, a court may decrease what it awards to the wrongdoer and increase the award to the spouse who suffered harm.
People who gamble away a significant portion of the wealth that they share with a spouse may see a corresponding reduction in the value of the assets that a judge awards them. Risky trading and investments may be comparable to gambling in a judge’s analysis of waste. A gambling addiction that contributes to the breakdown of a marriage may also be relevant to divorce proceedings involving fault.
People who spend considerable amounts of money on an extramarital affair may have to answer for their spending at some point in the divorce process. Gifting extravagant presents or providing financial support to a romantic interest with funds that are marital property exemplifies the egregious dissipation of assets.
In order to finalize a divorce and divide marital property equitably, both parties will need to show financial transparency. Misrepresenting financial information in order to conceal the dissipation of assets is unlikely to effectively hide mismanagement, and concealment could make matters much worse for the responsible party.