Is My Spouse Guilty of Wasteful Dissipation?

In a Nevada divorce, courts attempt to split all marital assets equally among the spouses, 50/50. This is called the “community property division” model. Of course, this model works only when there is property leftover to divide. Sometimes, one spouse suddenly discovers that this is little to no money left to split. This person may have fallen victim to wasteful dissipation.

Wasteful dissipation is an unscrupulous act where one spouse, aware that the marriage is ending, suddenly spends as much of the couple’s money as they can. Often, this is done simply out of spite, just to leave the other spouse with nothing after the divorce. In other cases, however, wasteful dissipation could be a way of hiding assets in an attempt to retrieve the money later.

This behavior is difficult to prove, but there are some telltale indicators you can rely on. If your spouse’s spending resembles any of the following patterns, they may be guilty of wasteful dissipation.

The Timing of the Spending

If your spouse was always bad with money, it may be difficult to prove that they intentionally wasted money. This is simply how they operate, and it won’t appear suspicious to anyone from the outside.

If, however, the spending seemed to happen all at once, this could be an indicator of wasteful dissipation. This is especially true if the spending seems to coincide with the breakdown of the relationship. A wasteful dissipator sees that the marriage is ending, and then they start burning through the money.

Work with your attorney, and create a meticulous timeline of when the spending began. If it seems to coincide with when your relationship troubles began, you may have a strong case for wasteful dissipation.

The Nature of the Spending

Wasteful dissipation assumes that the waster knows what they’re doing, and they’re trying to harm their spouse. If the money was spent on tangible property, those items will still be divided among the spouses in a divorce. So, if your spouse bought a bunch of jet skis and expensive watches, there may not be a case for wasteful dissipation.

If, however, your spouse spent money on unrecoverable expenses, they may have been intentionally wasting assets. Expensive vacations, gifts for friends, dinners at fancy restaurants, etc. could all be examples of wasteful dissipation. A clever waster may even plan to recover the money later. Perhaps they buy expensive collectives for someone, intending to sell them after the divorce.

Tracking the timing of the spending is important, but it’s also necessary to see where the money went. Your attorney may be able to obtain financial records and see if the money is recoverable or if it was wasted, gone forever.

Making a Case for Wasteful Dissipation

Whenever you make a formal accusation, the process is the same as with any other legal matter. Like a civil or criminal trial, your attorney must gather and present evidence. This evidence could be financial records of when and how the money was spent. It may also include witnesses. Anything that helps prove your case could be used as evidence in court.

What You Can Gain from Proving Wasteful Dissipation

Normally, Nevada splits assets among spouses equally. However, outside circumstances can alter that split. When one spouse is guilty of wasteful dissipation, the other can receive a greater split of the assets. They could be entitled to a greater percentage of spousal support as well.

Wasteful Dissipation Throughout the Marriage

Typically, wasteful dissipation is a singular event. It takes place within a specific timeframe with specific intent. There are, however, examples of wasteful dissipation occurring within the duration of the marriage.

If your spouse secretively squandered money on frivolous purchases, you may be able to accuse them of wasteful dissipation. For instance, if you discover your spouse hid spending on a gambling habit, an affair, a substance abuse problem, etc., you may be able to accuse them of wasteful dissipation.

This is a difficult claim to prove. Generally, the law assumes that spouses should be aware of one another’s spending. To help your case, you must show the steps your spouse took to hide this spending, and you must prove your complete lack of awareness. With a deft attorney and a sympathetic court, you may be able to do this successfully.

If you are suspicious of wasteful dissipation within your marriage, contact us today for a consultation. You can call us at (702) 904-9898 or use our online contact form.