The term dissipation refers to the wasteful spending of marital assets by one spouse. For a transaction to constitute dissipation, it typically needs to occur without the knowledge of the other spouse or as a means of one spouse depriving the other of part of the marital estate.
A broad range of behaviors can constitute marital dissipation and impact how the courts split your property, but the three forms of wasteful spending below are common claims made in Texas divorce courts.
Marital funds spent on an affair
Conducting an extramarital affair will damage the marital relationship and only benefit one spouse. Therefore, funds spent to conduct an extramarital affair may constitute dissipation in the family court system. Keeping financial records that show what your ex has spent on hotel rooms and overpriced gifts could help you hold them accountable for those amounts.
Frivolous spending for the benefit of one spouse
Some people decide that before the court formally divorces them from their ex, they will waste as much money as they can. This kind of behavior is common and could include everything from trying to finance a motorcycle while still married to going on a one-person vacation. The courts could hold someone accountable both for money spent and for debts accrued in this manner.
Giving away or hiding marital assets
Has your ex given your entire shared collection of vintage vinyl records worth thousands of dollars to their sister? Did they sell your antique furniture to their coworker for $20 These gifts or underpriced sales may be a way for your spouse to try to keep those assets out of the property division process. Figuring out what your ex has given away or sold for an inappropriately low price and putting a value on those assets will help you hold your ex accountable for that money.
Identifying dissipation can lead to a more appropriate property division outcome in a Texas divorce.