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Many marriages suffer because of disagreements over financial issues. In some situations, money problems are the primary reason for a divorce. Occasionally during the divorce process, one or both parties seek an adjustment to equitable distribution terms based on their spouse’s alleged intentional dissipation of marital assets.
Florida’s equitable distribution statute requires a judge deciding on division of property to consider whether either of the spouses intentionally dissipated, wasted, depleted or destroyed marital assets. If so, the other spouse may be awarded a larger share of property to compensate for the loss. Transactions that occur while the divorce is pending, or in the two-year period prior to filing for divorce, can be reviewed as part of an intentional dissipation claim.
There are many scenarios that can give rise to an allegation that a spouse has willfully squandered assets that should be divided among the parties. If a husband or wife has been engaging in an adulterous relationship, their spouse might seek to recover payments that were made in furtherance of the affair. There may also be allegations of fraudulent transactions, such as when a spouse headed for divorce transfers property to a family member or friend for a suspiciously low price.
Husbands or wives with addiction issues might also be alleged to have intentionally dissipated assets if funds were used to indulge their problem with drugs, alcohol or gambling. There may also be evidence showing that a spouse started spending recklessly out of spite when they realized that their marriage would be ending.
An equitable distribution adjustment for intentional dissipation of assets requires more than proof of unwise spending or a bad investment. The mindset of the spouse is critical to establishing intent. It is important to retain an attorney who has experience with complex divorces involving this type of dispute. Detailed investigation, forensic accounting and expert testimony might be necessary to support a dissipation claim. If you know or suspect that your spouse has wasted, destroyed or hidden assets to gain an advantage in your divorce or for another improper reason, you must take action as quickly as possible to protect your legal rights.
The Law Offices of Lawrence S. Katz in Miami, Florida has handled a wide range of high-asset divorces where serious disputes exist over the willful dissipation of marital property. These may include claims that funds or other assets have been sent offshore in order to avoid detection. To schedule a consultation regarding your specific issue, please call 305-670-8656 or contact us online.
For many years, Lawrence S. Katz has helped clients in Florida, throughout the United States and abroad. He has earned an excellent worldwide reputation for providing knowledgeable, quality representation in cross border family law matters and child abduction. He serves as counsel, co-counsel, consultant and expert witness.