Dissipation of Marital Assets in Your Illinois Divorce
Illinois law requires Courts in divorce proceedings to divide any marital property between the parties in an appropriate and fair manner. Moreover, all relevant factors in the case must be considered. One of those factors for the Judge to consider is the dissipation of marital assets by one or both spouses.
Dissipation is the legal term for when a spouse wastes or misuses assets for his or her own benefit for a purpose unrelated to the marriage, as the marriage is experiencing an irreconcilable breakdown.
Common Types of Dissipation of Marital Assets
There are several different ways in which a spouse can dissipate assets; however, certain means of dissipation are most common in divorce cases. A spouse might hide marital assets by concealing or transferring the assets to a secret account titled in another person’s name. Additionally, selling off marital assets, spending marital funds, or racking up debt without the other spouse’s knowledge are common ways of dissipating assets. More specifically, Illinois Courts have found that a spouse dissipated assets in the following ways:
- When a spouse purposely drove his or her own business into the ground, so the business would be valued at a lesser amount;
- When a spouse invested marital funds into a company that later became insolvent without informing the other spouse;
- When a spouse settled a lawsuit from which he or she received proceeds without the other spouse’s knowledge; and
- When a spouse took out a home equity loan on the marital residence without informing the other spouse.
Dissipation may also occur if a spouse uses marital funds to buy gifts or expensive vacations for a lover.
Procedures for Claiming Dissipation
In order to claim that a spouse has dissipated assets while the marriage is undergoing an irretrievable breakdown, you must file a notice with the Court no later than 60 days before trial or 30 days after the close of discovery, whichever occurs later.
The notice must contain the date or time period during which the marriage began undergoing an irretrievable breakdown. Also, the notice must identify the property that the spouse dissipated and identify the period of time during which the dissipation occurred.
Once a spouse raises the dissipation claim, the other spouse has the burden of showing where the money or property went by clear and convincing evidence .
Time Limits for Claiming Dissipation
Current Illinois law does limit the timeframe within which a spouse can claim dissipation. Hence, you cannot file for divorce and claim that your spouse has been dissipating assets for the last 20 years. If the innocent spouse did not know about the dissipation, then the claim may go back up to five years before the petition for dissolution of marriage was filed. If the innocent spouse knew, or should have known, that dissipation was occurring, then he or she must make the claim for dissipation within three years, or the dissipation claim is waived.
Contact Your Illinois Divorce Attorney for Help Today
At The Law Office of Nicholas W. Richardson, P.C., experienced Palatine divorce lawyer Nicholas Richardson is dedicated to helping you through your divorce. No matter what type of property and debt issues your divorce involves, Attorney Richardson is here to ensure that your divorce is resolved in a fair and efficient manner. He knows Illinois divorce law and how to best handle all issues that may arise with respect to your divorce. Let him help you through your divorce proceedings while you focus on moving forward.