Dissipation: Curbing Personal Spending During Divorce

Family Law Blog

Dissipation: Curbing Personal Spending During Divorce

December 9, 2019 | Divorce, Property, Wealth

Dissipation: Curbing Personal Spending During Divorce

At divorce, marital property is distributed equitably. Although Illinois is not a community property state where each spouse receives 50% of the marital property, each spouse will usually receive a large percentage of the marital estate under an equitable distribution model.

Any income earned during a marriage is marital property. This includes income earned while a divorce is pending. Therefore, any income not spent is to be divided equitably when a couple gets divorced.

Consequently, a spouse who earns income may be motivated to spend the money instead of saving it so his/her spouse can receive a portion of it when the divorce is finalized. Illinois divorce law recognizes spouses should not be permitted to spend marital funds just to keep it away from the other spouse.

Dissipation occurs when a spouse spends marital funds for truly personal purposes when the marriage has started to break down. If it can be proven that a spouse is dissipating the marital estate then that spouse will have to reimburse the estate (or the other spouse). Ordinary living expenses paid by during a divorce will not be considered dissipation. Dissipation, however, would occur, for example, if a spouse spends thousands of dollars at a casino during the divorce. It is important for a divorce attorney to scrutinize the bank records of the other spouse in order to see what was purchased after the marriage started to break down. Often times the other spouse was dissipating the marital estate.

The Botti Law Firm, P.C. has been practicing family law for nearly 50 years in DuPage and Cook County.  Please contact one of our attorneys at (630)573-8585 if you have any questions or would like to schedule a free consultation. 

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