Divorce is difficult for most who experience it. Deciding how to divide property and assets accumulated during the marriage can sometimes make the process even more contentious. Minnesota divorce law requires the courts to divide marital property justly and equitably. This generally means that marital property is to be divided equally between the parties, though mathematical precision is not required.
Unfortunately, it is not unheard for a spouse to behave spitefully during the divorce process by wasting marital assets rather than share them with their former partner. Examples of this include gambling away money/property; giving away assets to or spending money on a third party (e.g., in an extramarital affair); failing to preserve assets (e.g., missing mortgage payments); or spending excessively on alcohol, drugs, and/or other frivolities. This is known as dissipation of marital assets.
To prevent dissipation, when a party is served with a properly-drafted summons for divorce in Minnesota, the document contains temporary restraining provisions advising the party, among other things, that they may not dispose of any assets but for the necessities of life, the generation of income, preservation of assets, etc. The provisions go on to state that violating the provisions will subject the violating party to sanctions by the court. Further, if dissipation of marital assets is shown to have occurred in the lead-up to divorce, Minnesota law requires that the “court shall compensate the other party by placing both parties in the same position that they would have been in had the transfer . . . or disposal not occurred.”
But the court cannot act without being presented with sufficient evidence of dissipation. Thus, if you are preparing for divorce and suspect dissipation of assets, you would be wise to act promptly. It is important to know how to maximize your likelihood of compensation by the court, as well as how to protect marital assets from further dissipation.
If you suspect your spouse is dissipating marital assets, time is crucial. Call us at (612) 294-2200 to get a free consultation with a divorce attorney to start the process of protecting your what is yours.