Personal Representation
From Experienced Charleston Family Law Attorneys

How people can secure justice for the dissipation of marital assets

On Behalf of | Mar 22, 2024 | Divorce

The process of preparing for divorce usually involves a thorough review of one’s marital estate. Divorcing spouses in West Virginia deserve an equitable share of marital property and may be partially responsible for marital debts.

Spouses typically make thorough financial disclosures to one another and potentially the courts. Unfortunately, sometimes people review financial records and realize that there has been some type of misconduct. Maybe one spouse intentionally wasted marital property or sold marital assets for only a small portion of their fair market value early in the divorce process. Perhaps an extramarital affair consumed thousands of dollars of marital income or caused credit card debt.

Any intentional destruction of marital assets might warrant consideration during property division matters. How can people obtain justice when they discover dissipation?

Quantifying the misconduct

To hold someone accountable for dissipation, a spouse first needs to know the extent of the misconduct that occurred. People sometimes need to bring in forensic accountants to review financial records. These professionals can determine exactly how much marital property ended up destroyed or wasted. Both the acquisition of debt and the misuse of marital income could constitute dissipation for the purposes of property division proceedings in West Virginia. Once someone has put a value on that misconduct, they can then request appropriate solutions.

Requesting appropriate concessions

Reasonable solutions for dissipation during divorce may look different depending on the circumstances. Sometimes, holding one spouse accountable for credit card debts taken on due to spending sprees that were acts of dissipation is the simplest and best solution. Other times, it may be necessary to factor in the value of dissipated assets or income when making other key property division choices. Provided that there is actual evidence of the financial misconduct that transpired, it may be possible to negotiate a property division settlement that factors in dissipated resources while preparing for an uncontested divorce.

If the spouses agree on the extent of the dissipation, they can potentially reach an agreement for an uncontested divorce. The spouse who uncovers the dissipation could also have their lawyer present evidence of it during litigated property division proceedings. Scenarios involving intentional dissipation of marital resources are among the few circumstances in which misconduct influences property division matters during West Virginia divorces. Spouses who understand how the state handles certain cases can often improve the outcome of their divorce proceedings.