As emotional as divorce is, it’s actually a business transaction because it’s all about the division of assets and debts. While Nevada is technically a community property state where both spouses are entitled to a 50% interest in all assets and income acquired during the course of the marriage, marital waste or “wasteful dissipation of marital assets” is one factor that can change how community property is divided in a divorce.
What is wasteful dissipation of marital assets? It refers to the squandering of marital assets; it’s when one spouse spends community money in an irresponsible manner for their own benefit. We typically see marital waste in high-asset divorce cases simply because there are surplus funds available to spend frivolously.
Contested Divorce Cases
When divorcing spouses are on good terms and collaborating to achieve a non-adversarial divorce, marital waste is less common. However, when a divorce is fueled by strong emotions, such as jealousy, spite, and revenge, it’s more common to see one spouse squandering away the marital assets. Often, the spouse would rather waste the money or give it away to friends or family than have to split it with their soon-to-be-ex.
Examples of marital waste in Nevada
- An unemployed wife goes out and buys herself a sports car.
- A cheating husband hands over $25,000 to his girlfriend’s plastic surgeon so she can have a “Mommy Makeover.”
- A wife “invests” $100K of the couple’s money in her younger brother’s tech startup.
- A husband drops $15,000 on strip clubs, escorts, and gambling over a weekend on the Vegas Strip.
- A spiteful wife takes her two best friends on a $50,000 shopping spree in Beverly Hills.
- A husband buys himself a mini yacht knowing how much the ocean makes his wife seasick.
- A wife sells her husband’s $80,000 classic car for $1,000 on Craigslist.
If a spouse is, in fact, wasting marital assets, it can impact the divorce settlement. For example, let’s say a couple had $250,000 in a checking account and the husband had spent a total of $50,000 from the account to support his girlfriend over the last year. Instead of each spouse getting $125,000, the wife would still get $125,000, and the husband would get $75,000 because the $50K wasted was deducted from his portion of the account.
Next: Divorcing? Why You May Want to Hire a Forensic Accountant
Do you suspect that your spouse is wasting marital assets, which could impact your share of the marital estate? If so, we urge you to contact Ford & Friedman to meet with a Henderson divorce attorney. We can examine your situation to determine if your spouse is, in fact, wasting marital assets and if they are, what can be done about it.