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Property Division

What Is Dissipation of Assets in a Divorce?

In the event of a divorce, the involved parties need to comb through their assets to find out how to become whole. If anything is owed to either individual, it must be determined during the divorce so the judge can issue a mandate. Once issued, both parties must comply.

Unfortunately, not everyone wants to divide their marital assets fairly. Sometimes, one or both parties will attempt to hide their assets or use shared assets to benefit themselves. This is known as a dissipation of assets. But what can you do if your soon-to-be former spouse is dissipating assets?

Dissipation of Assets: When Does It Happen?

Dissipation can occur at any time during a divorce, including before proceedings begin. That’s right: If a party hides or unfairly uses assets as their marriage is breaking down, a savvy lawyer could use this information to prove dissipation.

Courts take dissipation very seriously. If the court concludes that a party engaged in it, they could be required to pay back any ill-gotten gains in full.

Dissipation of Assets: Examples

Dissipation of assets involves hiding specific assets, transferring funds in a malicious way, spending shared funds on an extramarital affair and similar actions. In some cases, it could also apply to exorbitant purchases and spending sprees.

Unfortunately, identifying whether one party has engaged in a dissipation of assets is not as straightforward as it sounds. Some of these instances can be a little more difficult to detect.

For example, suppose that one party didn’t outright hide their assets during the divorce but did spend shared assets on themselves during the breakdown of the marriage. To prove dissipation, your lawyer would need to identify when the marriage started to break down.

The motion of Intent to Claim Dissipation

If you suspect your spouse has dissipated assets, you must file a motion of intent to claim dissipation as soon as possible. When you file, be aware that the resulting investigation will involve additional asset tracing.

What Is Asset Tracing?

Asset tracing is when an attorney or forensic investigator scrutinizes an individual’s assets to determine whether anything illegal occurred. This can be a lengthy process that requires time and patience.

The investigation requires the attorney or accountant to examine a range of relevant documents, including but not limited to pay stubs, bank records, and credit card statements.

Keep in mind that just because dissipation has been alleged does not mean that it actually occurred. When your attorney concludes their investigation, it is crucial to allow the work to speak for itself.

Need a Qualified Family Law Attorney? Contact Gucciardo Family Law

Contact Gucciardo Family Law to assist with your divorce proceedings. Our firm has been litigating family law matters throughout the state of Michigan since 2001. We provide a thorough and compassionate approach that focuses on our clients’ peace of mind.

If you are ready to put the past behind you and get started with the rest of your life, contact us today to schedule your free 30-minute consultation.

Too much information?

We focus exclusively on family law matters so we are always available to answer your questions and help.

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