What Is Wasteful Dissipation Of Marital Assets?

You are about to get divorced or you are in the middle of divorce, you may hear the term “wasteful dissipation” of marital assets. This term generally means that prior to the divorce action, one spouse was purposely wasting marital funds by spending it on items that are unjustified or they were concealing marital assets in anticipation of the divorce.

There is no absolute definition of this term, however, here are some of the factors which the Court will consider in determining whether a spouse’s conduct constitutes wasteful dissipation:

  • The spouse’s intent when they spent the money
  • Whether the spouse concealed their action
  • Use of the purchased asset only for themselves
  • The time when they committed the act (i.e., was it right before the divorce action started or was it years before the divorce action started)
  • Whether the act constitutes waste in hindsight only
  • Whether only one spouse gained profit from the purchased asset
  • Failure to support the other spouse or the children due to the alleged wasteful dissipation
  • The relationship between the alleged waste and the parties’ overall financial status

Here are some general examples of what are considered wasteful dissipation of marital assets:

  • Gambling (especially excessive gambling)
  • Purchase of illegal drugs
  • Spending money on an extramarital affair
  • Intentionally failing to preserve a marital asset, without informing the other spouse
  • A large purchase right before the filing of a divorce action

One interesting case demonstrates what is NOT wasteful dissipation. After the parties were divorce, the ex-husband committed Grand Larceny. By virtue of his eventual conviction, the husband forfeited his pension rights, of which the ex-wife also had an interest in. The wife argued that the ex-husband’s conduct constituted wasteful dissipation as his conviction led to the loss of her rights to his pension.

The Court held that although the husband’s crime was obviously wrong, it was totally unrelated to the parties’ marriage and it occurred many years after the divorce action was commenced. Therefore, it was not a “wasteful dissipation” of a marital asset.

If you have questions concerning whether your spouse has engaged in “wasteful dissipation”, the Badanes Law Office and David Badanes can answer your questions. The Badanes Law Office represents clients in Long Island (Suffolk County and Nassau County).

If you need an attorney, call David Badanes and the Badanes Law Office at 631-239-1702, email at david@dbnylaw.com or visit our web site: www.dbnylaw.com.  The Badanes Law Office has offices in Northport, Garden City, Brooklyn and Manhattan.

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