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Do I Have a Valid Dissipation Claim During My Illinois Divorce?

Posted on in Divorce

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The term “dissipation” refers to assets that are wasted, destroyed, or used recklessly near the end of a marriage. When a spouse uses assets for a purpose not related to the marriage while the marriage is undergoing a breakdown, the other spouse may have a valid dissipation claim. Illinois law describes what type of spending constitutes dissipation and when the spending must occur in order to qualify as dissipation. If you are planning to get a divorce, and you have reason to believe that your spouse has squandered assets, a divorce lawyer experienced in handling dissipation claims can help protect your rights during the division of marital property.

What Type of Spending Is Considered Dissipative?

The Illinois Supreme Court defines dissipation as “the use of use of the marital property for the sole benefit of one of the spouses for a purpose unrelated to the marriage at a time that the marriage is undergoing an irretrievable breakdown.” Spending money on groceries, utility bills, or other legitimate needs is not considered dissipative. However, spending that is wasteful or reckless in nature may be considered dissipation. In previous Illinois divorce cases, the following types of spending have been deemed as dissipation:

  • Spending marital funds on vacations and gifts for an extramarital affair

  • Giving cash to an affair partner

  • Significant gambling expenditures

  • Carelessly or intentionally causing the family business to lose revenue

  • Knowingly destroying property

  • Transferring large sums of money to a family member

Spending Must Occur During the Breakdown of the Marriage

The Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA) states that wasteful spending must occur when the marriage is undergoing an “irretrievable breakdown.” The exact definition of this phrase has been subject to debate. The Second Appellate District Court has stated that the date of an irretrievable breakdown is the date that it became clear that the marriage could not be saved and divorce was inevitable. This is often interpreted to mean the time when a married couple ceased attempts at reconciliation. If the court finds that dissipation has occurred, the dissipative spouse may be required to repay the wasted funds. The court may also award a greater share of the marital assets to the innocent spouse during property division.

Contact a Burr Ridge Division of Assets Lawyer

One of the most contentious aspects of a divorce can be the division of property or assets. This is especially true when one party is dishonest or deceitful. Dissipation occurs when a spouse wastes assets during a marital breakdown. If you are planning to divorce and your spouse has spent marital funds on purposes unrelated to the marriage, you may have a valid dissipation claim. Contact the skilled law firm of Botti Marinaccio, LTD to discuss your options with one of our experienced DuPage County divorce attorneys. Call 630-575-8585 today to schedule your confidential consultation.



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Botti Marinaccio, LTD.


2015 Spring Road, Oak Brook, IL 60523

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