One of the scariest aspects of divorce is how little control you have over the property division decree. While community property laws do protect your right to receive your share of your marital estate, the actions of your ex and the opinions of the judge presiding over your divorce may impact your future financial stability.
You should receive your fair share of all marital property under state community property statutes. However, your spouse could try to manipulate that process to reduce how much you receive. Would you recognize either of the two most common forms of financial misconduct in divorce?
Some spouses hide assets
If you have never looked at a pay stub from your ex or gone over your household income records for a tax return, you may not really understand your financial circumstances.
Your ex could potentially have a bank account where they have set aside thousands of dollars and income earned during your marriage. They could have purchased physical property worth significant money that they don’t report to the court or made routine withdrawals of cash from your bank account to fund their life after your divorce.
Hidden assets are a common enough issue that most courts know about the risk. If you can show that your ex intentionally hid property from you or the courts, that could have a significant impact on how a judge divides your property. If you work with an attorney familiar with this kind of misconduct or hire a forensic accountant, you can report those hidden assets to the courts when you find them to secure an appropriate property division decree.
Some spouses waste property
Maybe your ex didn’t expect the divorce, so they never took the time to plan to hide assets. Instead, as they got close to the date they intended to file for divorce or after you served them with paperwork, they intentionally destroyed or got rid of marital property.
Dissipation could look like a yard sale where your ex sells your treasured possessions for pennies on the dollar. Dissipation can also be someone intentionally destroying or throwing out property. Sometimes, one spouse will max out shared credit cards or empty savings accounts. Even the money spent on an extramarital affair could constitute dissipation and influence how the judges divide the remaining property shared by the spouses.
Watching carefully for signs of financial malfeasance by your ex can help protect you during property division negotiations or litigation in your divorce.