People often want to “win” in their divorce, even though it is not a contest. Winning can take different forms depending on someone’s priorities. Some parents try to punish their spouse by depriving them of time with their shared children. Others want to win by securing far more property than their spouse in the divorce decree.
Given Arizona’s community property standards for the division of marital assets, it is uncommon for those without a prenuptial agreement to secure a highly uneven division of marital property. Some people will take extreme measures to diminish what their spouse gets in the divorce, including intentional acts of dissipation. Two forms of dissipation that are more common than others.
One spouse goes on a spending spree
If both of you know divorce is imminent but you haven’t actually separated yet, one of you might use that extra time to negatively affect household finances. One person going out and spending hundreds or thousands of dollars prior to divorce might constitute dissipation. Money spent on an affair could also come from your community property pot.
Whether a spouse spends money from a checking account or racks up huge credit card debts, wasteful spending aimed at diminishing the marital estate may constitute dissipation. The courts might hold one spouse responsible for their debts or diminish their share of the marital estate by the amount they spent.
One spouse might give away or sell marital property
You don’t have to go shopping to reduce what you have to split with your spouse. You could give away or destroy property that spouses should share. It’s also possible for one spouse to sell community property at a loss or with the expectation of pocketing the proceeds. Your spouse might even give away or sell property so that it won’t get split in the divorce while having an arrangement with the purchaser to return those assets after the court finalizes your divorce.
If you can show that your spouse intentionally diminished the pool of marital assets or increased your marital debt, those actions might affect how the judges divide your property in a high-asset divorce.