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Do You Suspect Your Spouse is Wasting Marital Assets?

Some couples have nice, friendly divorces. They understand their marriage is over, and they manage to set their differences aside and reach a fair settlement so they can move to the next chapter of their lives.

But for other couples, it’s not that simple. Fueled by greed, jealousy, anger, resentment, and spite, the divorce process is a lot more war-like and contentious. Such battles may fight over ever dollar, and even over who gets the family pets.

Spouses Motivated By Greed

As a divorce law firm that represents clients on Long Island and throughout Nassau County, we not only deal with our share of high-net-worth divorces, but we’ve seen spouses employ every dirty trick in the book, and one of them is “wasteful dissipation of marital assets.”

Wasteful dissipation of marital assets refers to the practice where a spouse intentionally wastes or squanders marital assets, usually so their innocent spouse will be denied their fair slice of the marital estate.

How can a spouse waste the marital assets? Oh, the possibilities are endless. A cheating husband can pay for his girlfriend’s European vacation, or he can virtually support her with marital funds. A wife can withdraw $30,000 from the couple’s bank account and hand it over to her plastic surgeon for her “Mommy Makeover,” without her husband’s agreement, and in anticipation of being single again.

A husband can gamble thousands of dollars away in Atlantic City and his favorite strip clubs. Or, a vengeful wife can hand over the dough so her younger boyfriend can open his dream specialty coffee shop.

Essentially, a spiteful spouse, especially one who has a high income, can have no problem throwing money away, figuring he or she will simply earn the money back after the divorce. The most vindictive spouses would rather blow the money or give it away to friends or family than have to split it with their husbands and wives.

Do I Have Legal Recourse?

Do you suspect, or even know for certain that your spouse is wasting marital assets? If this is the case, all hope is not lost. Once a divorce action is filed, spouses have some protection through what’s called an Automatic Temporary Restraining Order (ATRO), a court-order that bars both spouses from making any major changes in their financial statues.

If you believe your spouse has already been wasting marital assets, we recommend adding a forensic accountant to your divorce team. They are exceptionally skilled at finding hidden assets, tracking down wasted marital assets (even before the divorce), and identifying fraud. To fully explore your legal options, contact Jason M. Barbara & Associates, P.C. to request a free case evaluation.