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What Is Dissipation of Marital Assets?

Posted on in Divorce

Oak Brook divorce lawyersIt can be very frustrating when your spouse is financially irresponsible while you prefer to be smart with your finances. Being married to someone who spends money like it is going out of style can have a lasting effect on your financial health. This type of marriage can harm your credit score and make it more difficult to secure loans or mortgages in the future. However, dissipation of marital assets refers to a very specific type of financial irresponsibility on the part of a married individual.

If your spouse has unilaterally taken a large amount of money that belonged to the marriage and effectively wasted it frivolously, then you may be looking at dissipation. In Illinois, if your spouse has dissipated marital assets then you may be able to recover some of these funds during division of property. You will need to work closely with an experienced divorce lawyer if you believe that you have a valid dissipation claim. 

The Irretrievable Breakdown Rule

To claim dissipation during a divorce, the spending that gave rise to the claim must have occurred when the marriage was going through an “irretrievable breakdown.” If you and your spouse were still happily married with no intention of splitting when the wasting of funds occurred, courts will assume that the wasteful spending occurred with both spouses’ blessing. 

What is meant by “irretrievable breakdown” is the subject of some legal debate, but in Illinois, it generally means that divorce was inevitable. If you and your spouse were still working to save your marriage, then it may not be considered an irretrievable breakdown. You do not need to have officially separated, but some circumstances must show that you were no longer trying to reconcile or stay together. 

Defining Dissipation

In Illinois, dissipation of marital funds means “the use of the marital property for the sole benefit of one of the spouses for a purpose unrelated to the marriage.” If your spouse purchased an expensive vacation package and took you, then it is not dissipation even if the spending might be considered objectively wasteful, as the spending benefited you both. However, if your spouse purchased that same vacation package but took an affair partner, then this is a fairly clear-cut example of dissipation.

Other examples of dissipation may include excessive gambling losses, gross mishandling of a family business, spending due to a drug addiction, or giving away large amounts of money. 

Contact a DuPage County Divorce Attorney

Botti Marinaccio, LTD. is experienced at bringing dissipation claims during high-asset divorce cases. Our skilled Oak Brook divorce lawyers will help take a full accounting of any assets your spouse may have dissipated when your marriage was ending. Call 630-575-8585 to begin with a confidential consultation. 




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2015 Spring Road, Oak Brook, IL 60523

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