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Dissipation of Marital Assets to Pay Marital Expenses During the Divorce

Purchases during divorce proceedings

What Happens With Finances While Your Divorce Is Pending?

The time it takes to finalize a divorce in Florida can vary greatly. During that time, household debts must still be paid while the divorce is proceeding through the courts. Divorce can be costly, and sometimes marital assets may need to be liquidated to pay for the bills and support of the other spouse and/or the minor children. How the final judgment of equitable distribution is determined at the end of the case depends on the reasons for the dissipation of a marital asset.

In general, assets that have been diminished or dissipated during the divorce proceedings should not be included in an equitable distribution calculation. See Winder v. Winder, 152 So. 3d 836, 838 (Fla. 1st DCA 2014). For example, if a spouse withdraws all the funds from a marital retirement account to pay marital expenses and/or temporary support for the other spouse pending resolution of the divorce, that retirement account cannot be used as a marital asset in equitable distribution calculations.

However, if there is evidence of intentional misconduct on the part of a spouse where the money was used for the offending spouse’s own benefit and for a purpose unrelated to the marriage (like an extramarital affair), then the Court may include that asset in the equitable distribution scheme. See Winder v. Winder at 839. The dissipated asset could be assigned to the offending spouse when determining equitable distribution. Misconduct does not include “mismanagement or simple squandering of marital assets in a manner of which the other spouse disapproves,” but must be intentional. See id.

Therefore, while a divorce is pending, as long as money from a marital asset is being spent in good faith to help both the parties and is related to the marriage, it will not later be considered in equitable distribution calculations.

Considering a Divorce Attorney in Jacksonville? We’ve been serving family law clients for nearly 20 years. We’re committed to timely, cost-effective separation representation and you always have direct access to your attorney throughout the divorce process. For more information, please Call 904.306.9926 or Contact Us online today.

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