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How Can Dissipation of Assets Affect a Wisconsin Divorce?

 Posted on November 16, 2022 in Family Law

Milwaukee Family Law AttorneyWhen spouses in Wisconsin divorce, they will be required to divide their property and assets. However, there are some circumstances in which actions by one spouse will affect a couple's ability to divide their assets fairly. If one spouse has taken actions that reduced the value of the marital estate, this may be considered dissipation of assets. When a spouse claims that the other party has taken these types of improper actions, they may ask for adjustments to be made to how marital property will be divided, ensuring that their financial interests will be protected.

What Counts as Dissipation of Assets?

In general, any use of marital assets for the sole benefit of one spouse outside of the marriage can be considered dissipation of assets. Some common examples of asset dissipation that may need to be addressed during the divorce process include:

  • Using marital funds to support a paramour or further an affair. This may include buying gifts for a paramour, taking vacations together, or even paying for a person's ongoing expenses, such as rent or groceries.

  • Using marital funds to purchase luxury items for oneself. A person may choose to buy expensive watches, jewelry, automobiles, collectibles, or other items that are used solely for their own benefit rather than to meet the needs of their family.

  • Using marital assets to further addictions. A person who struggles with substance abuse may spend marital funds on drugs or other substances. Gambling addictions can also be a significant concern, and a person may gamble away a significant portion of the marital estate.

  • Selling or transferring marital assets without the consent of the other spouse. This may be done in an attempt to conceal assets and avoid dividing them during the divorce process. A spouse may also choose to sell or give away items in order to prevent the other party from making use of these assets.

  • Destroying or hiding marital assets. In some cases, a person may attempt to harm their spouse by destroying items that are important to them, or they may take other actions meant to cause their spouse to suffer financial or emotional harm.

How Does Asset Dissipation Impact Divorce Proceedings?

If dissipation of assets is found to have occurred during your marriage, it can have a significant impact on how your divorce proceeds. The court may award a greater share of the marital property to the wronged spouse. This outcome is intended to make up for the fact that one spouse has been disadvantaged by the other's actions.

For example, imagine that you and your spouse have $100,000 in savings when you decide to divorce. If your spouse had an affair and spent $20,000 of those savings on gifts for their paramour, you would likely be awarded a greater share of the remaining $80,000.

Contact Our Waukesha Property Division Attorneys for Asset Dissipation

Dissipating assets during a Wisconsin divorce can have serious consequences. If you are going through a divorce, it is important to take steps to protect your assets and address any actions by your spouse that have reduced the value of your marital estate. An experienced Muskego asset division lawyer at Bucher, Wolff & Sonderhouse, LLP can help you gather evidence of asset dissipation and take steps to address this issue and ensure that you receive a fair and equitable share of the marital property in your divorce settlement. Contact us today at 262-232-6699 to schedule a free consultation with one of our attorneys. We look forward to helping you resolve divorce-related issues effectively, allowing you to move forward with your life following this difficult time.



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