What Can I Do If My Spouse Sold, Destroyed, or Wasted My Property During Divorce?

 Posted on January 23, 2023 in Family Law

IL divorce attorneyWhen a couple gets married, they inevitably combine their finances, property, and personal belongings. Unfortunately, this becomes a point of vulnerability in some divorce cases. If one spouse feels they have been wronged, they may use the shared property to take revenge on the other spouse. A spouse intent on exacting revenge may smash the other spouse's record collection or sell their property without permission. They may drain the joint savings account during a vacation with a new lover, intentionally wreck a shared vehicle, or take other vengeful actions out of spite.

If your spouse has sold, destroyed, or wasted your property during a divorce, there are some legal steps you can take to protect yourself and possibly recover reimbursement for what was taken from you.

Financial Restraining Orders During Illinois Divorce Cases

We typically think of restraining orders in terms of domestic violence, but some restraining orders apply to financial actions. In Illinois, financial restraining orders can be used in a divorce case when one spouse is trying to hide or dissipate (waste) assets. This order requires that all financial accounts, and any other shared property, remain exactly as they were until the division of assets has been finalized.

The spouses are prohibited from closing bank accounts, selling marital property, transferring titles, or taking any other financial action with the shared assets until a settlement agreement has been reached. In some cases, spouses have attempted to hide marital property in an attempt to deprive the other spouse of their rightful share of the assets. This is considered fraud and can result in serious consequences for the guilty party.

Dissipation of Assets

When a spouse uses marital property for their own personal benefit after a marriage has broken down, this is considered dissipation or waste of assets. For example, if one spouse spends $15,000 of marital funds on a diamond necklace for a new romantic partner during the divorce process, this would likely be considered dissipation of assets. In many cases, the court will order the guilty spouse to reimburse the marital estate for the money or property that was wasted.

Dissipation of assets may also involve:

  • Intentional destruction of marital property
  • Spending money to fund a drug addiction
  • or other reckless behavior
  • Canceling or refinancing joint loans without permission from the other spouse
  • Taking extravagant vacations with new partners
  • Entering into unapproved business deals

In Illinois, it's important to remember that a divorce judge has the power to assign responsibility for any debt incurred during the marriage. If one spouse dissipates assets after filing for divorce, the court may decide that each spouse will be responsible for a portion of the dissipated debt.

Contact Our Hinsdale Divorce Attorney

Our DuPage County divorce lawyers can help you protect your rights and financial interests during divorce. Call the Law Office of Martoccio & Martoccio at 630-920-8855 for a free consultation.




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