Chicago Asset Dissipation Lawyer
Money issues are a leading cause of divorce, and they don’t stop just because the marriage has broken down or one spouse has filed for divorce. Money matters such as the division of property and the payment of alimony/maintenance are central features in most divorces that must be settled either through agreement by the parties or litigation in court. One issue that comes up less often but is vitally important when it does involves the intentional waste or dissipation of assets. When this happens, it unfairly changes the outcome of the divorce unless it is discovered and dealt with properly. The family law attorneys at Birnbaum Gelfman Sharma & Arnoux, LLC have the knowledge, skills and expertise needed to do just that. Our talented legal team routinely handles divorce cases involving high-net-worth individuals and couples, and we are well-versed in the issues related to the dissipation of assets. Learn more about this vital matter below, and if you feel it may be relevant to your divorce, call our experienced Chicago asset dissipation lawyers today.
What Is Asset Dissipation?
Asset dissipation occurs when one spouse uses marital funds or property for a non-marital purpose when the marriage is already broken. A common example is when one spouse has already entered into a new relationship and uses marital funds to take their new boyfriend/girlfriend on an expensive vacation or uses marital funds to buy them gifts or even support them. These actions are viewed as unfair to the other spouse who has a legitimate claim on the marital estate and is entitled to have those assets equitably distributed between the spouses.
Asset dissipation can also occur when one spouse intentionally wastes money to keep the other from getting their legitimate share or to change the value of the estate available for division. For instance, a spouse anticipating a divorce could go out and rack up large amounts of debt (that they will only be half responsible for repaying), make frivolous purchases, or transfer money or property to family or friends to remove it from the estate and hide it from the court.
How Our Experienced Divorce Lawyers Can Help With Asset Dissipation Issues
Whether one party has engaged in asset dissipation can turn on a number of factors, including the date of separation or breakdown of the marriage, the amount that was spent, whether the other spouse agreed to the expenditures, and whether the spending spouse tried to hide their activities from the other. If you believe your spouse has been wasting assets or if you are being wrongfully accused of dissipating assets, our team provides expert technical assistance to uncover the facts and apply the law. Birnbaum Gelfman Sharma & Arnoux, LLC can help with the following issues, for example:
Only marital can be wrongfully dissipated; individuals are free to convey or dispose of their separate property as they see fit. Properly characterizing property as marital or separate is key to the property division in any divorce, but it is especially important when questions of asset dissipation have been raised. Marital and separate assets can get confused or intermingled, requiring complex asset tracing techniques. Our firm is experienced in divorce cases involving large estates with complicated assets such as business interests, investments, pensions plans and profit-sharing plans. We can help ensure that marital and separate property are properly characterized, which can help not only in the equitable distribution of property but in the determination of whether marital assets were dissipated.
Our asset dissipation lawyers can also help determine whether money or property was used for the sole benefit of one spouse for a purpose unrelated to the marriage. Was money spent on a romantic partner outside the marriage or wasted on drugs or gambling? Whether a particular expenditure was unnecessary or wasteful is specific to the facts in every case; our years of experience can be pivotal in supporting your position on this point.
Finally, to qualify as asset dissipation, the money must have been spent at a time when the marriage was undergoing an irretrievable breakdown. Illinois law contains specific time frames for claiming dissipation. Our experienced divorce lawyers know what evidence is necessary to show when the marriage broke down and whether asset dissipation occurred during the relevant periods. If dissipation is proved, the guilty party must reimburse the marital estate so all marital property can be fairly and equitably distributed in accordance with Illinois law.
Contact Birnbaum Gelfman Sharma & Arnoux, LLC Today
We understand the procedure involved in bringing forward a Notice of Intent to Claim Dissipation and what that notice must include, as well as what it takes for the party alleged to be dissipating assets to prove how and why the money was properly spent. Make sure you are being treated fairly in your divorce by getting advice and representation from a trusted team of attorneys who know the law and are dedicated to looking out for you. Call our experienced Chicago asset dissipation lawyers today.