There are many things that individuals might do in preparation for a divorce. Unfortunately, some spouses cross the line and engage in activity aimed at trying to unfairly lower what their soon-to-be ex would receive in property division in the divorce. One of the actions that sometimes comes up is a spouse wasting assets. This is referred to as asset dissipation. Generally, this is when a person spends or wastes marital assets in order to keep these assets out of the hands of his or her spouse in a divorce.
It is important to note that, here in Virginia, there are steps that individuals can take if they discover that their spouse wasted assets in the lead-up to a divorce to try to keep this misconduct from creating an unfair property division. Presenting evidence of asset wasting could have impacts on a court's decision in property division matters.
State law identifies a range of things courts are to consider when deciding what would be a fair division of marital assets in a divorce. One of the things courts are to factor in is if one of the spouses engaged in asset dissipation in anticipation of separation or divorce (or did such dissipation following the couple's last separation).
There are complex issues that can come up in arguing that improper asset wasting has occurred. This includes issues regarding whether a given financial action taken by a spouse was dissipation, and whether it was done in anticipation of the divorce. So, when fighting for fair property division in the face of asset-wasting by a spouse, a person may want an experienced lawyer's help in the fight.