When couples decide to divorce in Illinois, they have two options: a contested divorce or a non-contested divorce.
March 31, 2023
What is the Dissipation of Assets and How Does It Affect my Divorce?
In a divorce, one of the most important issues to be resolved is the division of assets and debts between the spouses. Illinois is an equitable distribution state, which means that marital property is divided fairly but not necessarily equally. In some cases, however, one spouse may try to reduce the amount of marital property available for distribution by dissipating assets. In this blog post, we will explore what is the dissipation of assets and how it applies in a divorce in Illinois.
What Is the Dissipation of Assets?
The dissipation of assets occurs when one spouse uses marital assets for their own benefit or for purposes unrelated to the marriage during the breakdown of the marriage. This can include, but is not limited to, the following:
Making gifts to a third party
Hiding or transferring assets to a third party
Starting a new business
Dissipation typically occurs during the breakdown of the marriage, which is the time period that begins when one spouse has expressed their intention to end the marriage and ends when the marriage is dissolved. Dissipation can occur before or after the filing of the divorce petition, but it must occur during the breakdown of the marriage.
How Does Dissipation Apply in a Divorce in Illinois?
In Illinois, dissipation can impact the division of marital property in a divorce. When determining how to divide marital property, the court considers a variety of factors, including the contributions of each spouse to the marriage, the length of the marriage, and each spouse's income and earning potential.
If one spouse has dissipated marital assets during the breakdown of the marriage, the court may take this into consideration when determining how to divide marital property. Specifically, the court may add back the value of the dissipated assets to the marital estate before dividing property between the spouses.
For example, if one spouse spent $10,000 on gambling during the breakdown of the marriage, the court may add this amount back to the marital estate before dividing property between the spouses. This would effectively reduce the amount of marital property available for distribution and may impact the final outcome of the divorce.
However, it is important to note that the burden of proof is on the spouse alleging dissipation to prove that dissipation occurred and that it occurred during the breakdown of the marriage. In order to prove dissipation, the spouse must demonstrate the following:
The funds were spent for a purpose unrelated to the marriage
The spending occurred during the breakdown of the marriage
The spending was intentional
The spending reduced the marital estate
If dissipation is proven, the court may also order the dissipated spouse to reimburse the other spouse for their share of the dissipated assets.
In conclusion, the dissipation of assets can have a significant impact on the division of marital property in a divorce in Illinois. If you believe that your spouse has dissipated assets during the breakdown of your marriage, it is important to speak with an experienced divorce attorney who can help you protect your rights and interests. An attorney can help you gather the evidence necessary to prove dissipation and present a compelling argument to the court.
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