What are My Rights and Options If My Spouse is Wasting Money Before a Florida Divorce?
It takes time to end a marriage. Finding out that your spouse is wasting money can be deeply stressful and frustrating. This raises an important question: Can I do anything to stop my spouse from wasting money immediately prior to a divorce? The answer is ‘yes’—you have options to stop ongoing abuse of marital assets and remedy the damage that has already been done.
Gale H. Moore is a divorce attorney with experience handling complex property matters, including waste and abuse of asset cases. Here, our family law team explains the most important things you should know about dissipation of asset cases in Florida. If you have specific questions about your rights, give us a call for a confidential initial consultation.
Waste/Abuse of Marital Assets: Defined
In the context of family law, you will often see the term “dissipation of assets” used to describe the intentional or reckless waste/abuse or marital property immediately before a divorce. Florida courts classify waste/abuse as “dissipation” if the use of joint property is deemed unreasonable. It can take a number of specific forms, including:
- Giving gifts to support an affair;
- Unjustifiable personal spending;
- Attempts to hide or conceal property/assets;
- Money spent on drugs or other illegal activity; and
- Serious gambling losses.
You Can Take Action to Stop Additional Misuse of Marital Funds/Property
If you filed for divorce and waste/abuse is currently ongoing, you have a right to petition a Florida court to stop any additional damage to your joint property. Under Florida law (Florida Statutes § 61.11), a court can order an injunction to stop a spouse for causing further losses through waste or abuse.
Florida Courts Can Remedy Dissipation of Assets
You also have a right to seek a legal remedy for any waste or abuse of your jointly-held marital property that has already happened. In Florida, marital property is divided equitably (fairly) between the two spouses. In deciding what counts a fair distribution, courts consider a broad array of different factors. Under Florida Statutes § 61.075 (1)(i), a judge will consider the following:
- “The intentional dissipation, waste, depletion, or destruction of marital assets after the filing of the petition or within 2 years prior to the filing of the petition.”
In effect, this means that a Florida court can award one spouse a larger share of the marital assets—potentially a far greater share—in order to make up for the unreasonable and improper waste and abuse of assets that has already taken place.
Contact Our Largo, FL Complex Marital Property Lawyers Today
At the Law Office of Gale H. Moore P.A., our Clearwater complex property matters lawyer has the skills and experience to represent clients in complex property division matters, including dissipation of asset cases. If you believe that your spouse is wasting or abusing assets prior to a divorce, we will protect your rights. For a confidential initial appointment with a top-rated attorney, please contact us today. Our law firm handles divorce & family cases in Largo and throughout all of Pinellas County.