Your Rights Against the Dissipation of Marital Assets
It is one thing to begin preparing for a divorce by gathering the relevant financial documentation and other paperwork a spouse knows will be necessary for the filing. It’s another thing entirely to begin transferring marital assets or spending them to avoid splitting the property with your spouse during the equitable distribution of property after the divorce has been filed. Known as the dissipation of marital assets, a spouse is not allowed to spend down or transfer marital property ahead of a divorce, and you have rights under Florida law to ensure you are compensated if your spouse attempts to do so before your divorce.
What is the Dissipation of Marital Assets?
The dissipation of marital assets occurs when one spouse deliberately removes marital assets from the estate prior to the equitable division of property so that it is no longer available for the other spouse. The dissipation of marital assets can happen in a number of different ways, including but not limited to the following examples. Knowing that a divorce is happening soon, a spouse might transfer marital property into the name of another family member or friend temporarily to avoid it being included in the marital estate. Another common example is when one spouse uses marital funds or property on gifts or expenses for a person they are having an affair with or gives them a loan with no repayment provisions.
Remedies in an Orlando Divorce
Because Florida is considered an equitable division state for the distribution of marital property in a divorce, the court splits marital property equitably unless given a reason to do otherwise. If one spouse can prove that the other dissipated marital assets the court may award the injured spouse a greater share of the marital estate. In order to determine whether a remedy is necessary for the dissipation of marital assets, the court is allowed to look at whether intentional dissipation, waste, depletion, or destruction of property in the marital estate took place after the filing of the divorce documents or within two years of the filing of the divorce. In very specific circumstances, the court is allowed to look back even further than two years to determine whether one spouse should be awarded a greater share of the marital estate due to the dissipation of assets.
An unequal distribution of the marital estate after a dissipation of assets is proven is calculated by the amount of marital assets that were taken from the estate. If one spouse proves that $10,000 was removed prior to the distribution of assets, the court will add that amount in favor of the spouse injured before splitting the remaining marital assets. An argument can also be made for an even greater unequal distribution for the additional attorney’s fees necessary to prove this added element of the divorce.
Talk to a Lawyer Today
Do you believe that your spouse dissipated assets prior to your divorce in Orlando? The Law Office of Steve W. Marsee is here to help. Call or contact the office today to schedule a free consultation of your divorce case.