Money remains one of the biggest points of contention for married couples here in Utah and around the country. That contention does not necessarily stop once the parties decide to divorce. In fact, matters could get worse as the parties work to divide the marital estate.
Some Utah residents might attempt to squander the marital assets rather than divide them. Dissipating assets, as it is called, is often done through excessive spending. The other spouse might notice that credit card limits are being reached and/or accounts are being drained. If this is the case, it might be time to call in a forensic accountant to review all of the couple’s financial records in an attempt to determine what happened.
Courts often require the spending that illustrates dissipation of assets to be out of the ordinary and frivolous. It cannot simply follow a pattern of behavior that occurred during the divorce since the court will assume the other spouse condoned or otherwise accepted it. The amount of money being dissipated has to be significant. The benefits of an investigation and time in court needs to be worth the amount of money or assets and worth the court’s time.
Part of the purpose of a divorce is to ensure that each party walks away with an equitable portion of the marital assets with which to begin a new life. If one party is spending or otherwise disposing of a significant portion of the money and/or assets of the marriage in order to keep the other from getting a portion of it, that needs to be addressed with the court. Neither party should have a substantial financial advantage over the other when the divorce is finalized.
Source: Forbes, “What is dissipation of assets in divorce and what, if anything, can you do about it?“, Jeff Landers, Nov. 1, 2016