For most divorcing couples, property division is one of the most challenging and contentious issues that they need to resolve. Under Minnesota state law (MN Statutes Sec. 518.58), marital property is divided in an ‘equitable’ manner—meaning it will be divided fairly, which is not always a 50-50 split.
What happens if one spouse is spending wildly and recklessly prior to a divorce? The short answer is that they may be viewed as dissipating assets and the court may deem it ‘equitable’ to award them a smaller share of the marital property. Here, our Mankato divorce attorneys explain the most important things you need to know about dissipation of assets in Minnesota.
What is Dissipation of Assets?
In divorce proceedings, Minnesota courts have defined dissipation of assets as the unjustifiable “waste” or “abuse” of marital property. While both parties have the right to spend their money how they please, a spouse who is wasting assets immediately prior to a divorce (or while a divorce case is pending) may face repercussions. Some examples of conduct that could be viewed as depletion or dissipation of assets include:
- Incurring significant gambling losses;
- Taking on a considerable amount of unwise debt, including credit card debt;
- Giving of expensive, extravagant gifts to third parties;
- Other types of unusually high or unreasonable spending; and
- Illegitimate transfers to outside parties to hide or “protect” assets.
Intentional or Reckless Wasting of Assets May Affect Property Distribution
In Minnesota, courts have the authority to consider dissipation of assets when dividing marital property. In other words, the innocent spouse may be entitled to a larger share of the joint property than they would otherwise have received in order to account for their former partner’s abuse/misuse of their assets. Dissipation of asset cases are highly fact specific. If you believe that your ex is wasting assets or if you have been accused of dissipating assets, you should speak to an experienced Minnesota divorce attorney right away.
The Importance of Identifying Dissipation as Early as Possible
In dissipation of assets cases, it is immensely important to be proactive. If you can identify a spouse’s improper use of assets early on in the proceedings, you may be able to get an injunction to prevent them from wasting any more of your collective money or property. Additionally, early action will put a person in a better position to make a claim for a greater share of the marital property. A divorce lawyer can help you gather and assemble all of the documents, records, and evidence that you need to build a strong, and compelling claim.
Call Our Mankato, MN Family Lawyers for Immediate Assistance
At Kohlmeyer Hagen, Law Office Chtd., our Minnesota divorce attorneys have the skills, experience, and legal knowledge needed to represent clients in dissipation of assets cases. If you have questions about dissipation of assets, we are ready to help. To set up a completely confidential consultation, please call us at 507-625-5000. With an office in Mankato, we are well-positioned to represent clients throughout Southern Minnesota, including in Owatonna, Faribault, St. Peter, and Rochester.