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Attorneys at Raleigh Divorce Law Firm

Dissipating assets is not just a spending spree

On Behalf of | Jun 12, 2024 | Divorce |

North Carolina law requires divorcing spouses to divide their marital property, but some people may try to prevent their ex-spouse from getting their fair share. They might hide assets in some cases. In others, they might try to dissipate marital property.

The most common signs of dissipation often include high credit card balances and shopping sprees. So, it is important to pay close attention to your financial statements and accounts during the divorce proceedings.

Even so, these are not the only forms of dissipation. It is important to be aware of some of the other ways this might appear so you can protect your assets and finances.

Destruction is dissipation too

Dissipation is not only the spending or transferring of assets. Sometimes individuals destroy the assets just to keep their spouse from obtaining that property. It is a way of “dissipating” what you would get in a fair distribution of marital property. This might look like:

  • Trashing furniture, art or other personal property
  • Damaging the family home in some way
  • Losing or purposely damaging gifts they gave you, such as jewelry

As we mentioned in a previous blog post, providing photographic evidence of destroyed property could help prove this form of dissipation.

Important note: Intent does not always matter

Your spouse might fully intend to dissipate assets in order to keep them from you. However, you could still prove dissipation even if that was not their intention at all.

For example, if a spouse has an addiction, whether that is related to gambling or alcohol, they might not mean to squander assets, but they still spend heavily to fund that habit or addiction. If they use marital assets or funds to do so, the fact remains that they did squander assets. If a significant loss impacts the value of the marital estate, then it could be dissipation.

Dissipation can take many forms. Essentially, anything that seems like it will deplete the marital estate during the divorce proceedings could be a warning sign. You should take any signs you see seriously.