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Understanding Illinois Law Regarding Dissipation of Assets During Divorce

Posted on in Divorce

Wheaton divorce lawyersIn divorce law, the term “dissipation” is used to describe property which is wasted during the end of a marriage. With help from a qualified family law attorney, you may be able to be compensated for assets which your spouse dissipated before your marital property was formally divided during divorce. However, not all wasteful spending is considered dissipation. Only situations which meet certain criteria are considered dissipation, and it is important to understand what these criteria are. 

What Types of Spending Are Considered Dissipative?

Many individuals who are in the process of getting divorced have questions about their soon-to-be-ex-spouse’s financial responsibility. However, dissipation refers to a specific situation in which a spouse wastes, misuses, or destroys marital property. The Illinois Supreme Court has specified that dissipation is the “use of marital property for the sole benefit of one of the spouses for a purpose unrelated to the marriage.”

Dissipated assets include any money or property that was used for the benefit of one of the spouses but did not benefit the other spouse or the marriage in any way. Examples of dissipation may include:

  • Money spent by a spouse on expensive gifts for a secret lover
  • Property which was sold to finance a gambling addiction
  • Funds wasted due to compulsive shopping
  • Property which was purposely destroyed or vandalized by a spouse in an act of revenge
  • Money spent due to a drug or alcohol addiction

Defining “Irretrievable Breakdown”

In order for wasted assets to be considered dissipation, the assets must have been wasted during “a time that the marriage is undergoing an irreconcilable breakdown.” An irretrievable or irreconcilable breakdown typically refers to a time when the married couple has ceased attempts at reconciliation. Defining exactly what constitutes a breakdown is not always easy. It can be marked by the time that the couple first started discussing divorce or when a spouse moved out. It is generally assumed that a marriage is undergoing an irretrievable breakdown when a couple stops spending time together or sharing a marital bed. If you and your legal counsel can prove that your spouse dissipated assets during the end of your marriage, the court will take corrective action. Your spouse will likely be ordered to pay back the amount wasted or may receive a relatively smaller share of the marital estate.

Contact a Wheaton Dissipation Lawyer

Losing marital property to dissipation can be an incredibly frustrating experience. For help proving dissipation and holding your spouse accountable for his or her actions, contact a DuPage County divorce attorney from Anderson & Associates, P.C. Call our office at 630-653-9400 to schedule a free, confidential consultation.





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