Illinois’ Dissolution of Marriage Acts identifies the potentially serious effects of one or both spouses misusing or wasting marital assets. In legal terms, “dissipation” occurs when a spouse squanders or improperly diverts funds or other property when the marriage is breaking down.
If a court finds that dissipation has taken place, it could influence the court’s decision about how to divide assets. Here are some of the most important things that divorcing spouses should know about dissipating assets and Illinois’ statutory law pertaining to the division of marital property.
Examples of dissipation
One person’s frivolous spending on things that only he or she wants rather than things that will benefit both parties in marriage may amount to dissipation. Likewise, a spouse may dissipate marital assets by giving money to someone with whom he or she is having an affair. Gambling or risky trading could also qualify.
During divorce proceedings in Illinois, a claimant must file a formal notice of intent to claim dissipation and serve a copy of the notice to the other party. Claimants must typically file this type of notice 60 days before trial and no later than 30 days after the completion of the discovery process. Failure to act within this timeframe could result in a waiver of the claim.
A family court’s goal is to divide marital property fairly and equitably. When a person’s actions have an unfair impact on his or her spouse’s interests, a court can take that into account when deciding what property divorcing spouses should have when they leave the marriage.