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Understanding dissipation of marital wealth during divorce

Ending a marriage requires a great deal of planning and a thorough exchange of information between parties and legal professionals. That process can seem tedious at times, especially for couples in Colorado who have a diverse mix of assets at the time of their divorce. Unfortunately, there are cases in which one spouse has inappropriately transferred or otherwise disposed of funds that should have been held in the marital assets "pot."

This process is known as dissipation, and is more common than many people believe. Dissipation can take a number of different forms. Perhaps the most well-known is when one spouse spends marital funds to support an affair with a third party.

Dissipation can also occur in other ways. For example, a spouse may have diverged small or moderate amounts of money out of marital accounts for a period of many years before filing for divorce. It can be difficult to determine whether or not dissipation has occurred, which is why many spouses turn to the services of a trusted professional.

Financial professionals who focus on dissipation of marital wealth are referred to as forensic accountants. These pros have the skills and experience needed to comb over a couple's financial documents, looking for omissions or discrepancies. If dissipation is noted, the issue can be brought to the attention of a divorce judge, in the hopes of securing a fair property division outcome for both Colorado spouses. In some cases, spouses who are found to have engaged in dissipation of marital wealth may receive a lesser share of assets to "make up" for his or her actions. 

Source: financial-planning.com, "Divorce: The 'dark side' of financial planning", Maddy Perkins, Oct. 3, 2017

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Brandon Ceglian's practice focus is family law, landlord-tenant law / real estate, civil litigation, criminal / DUI, and collections. View Attorney Profile

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