The bad behavior of either spouse can harm the entire family during a marriage. Irresponsible spending, overuse of credit cards and even gambling can endanger the entire family’s financial stability. These risks don’t immediately disappear when either spouse files for divorce. Certain actions can still affect the rights and responsibilities of the other spouse. It is only after a judge finalizes a marital dissolution that couples can feel confident about the separation of their finances.
Misconduct in general – such as engaging in an affair – often isn’t a big player in property division matters. Judges aren’t ordinarily supposed to consider the bad actions of either spouse when deciding what would be a reasonable way to divide their property. However, the exception to this rule involves financial misconduct. There are two forms of financial misconduct that frequently impact the property division process in Indiana divorces.
1. The dissipation of marital assets
Spouses share their resources and obligations with one another, and sometimes angry people use that as a weapon. Dissipation involves someone wasting marital property, such as selling furniture at a yard sale for a tiny fraction of its true value for giving away someone’s electronics out of spite.
Dissipation could also involve intentionally accumulating debt or spending money from marital accounts for selfish purposes. In fact, money spent on an extramarital affair might constitute dissipation if someone can prove that those marital resources ended up undermining the marital relationship.
2. Intentionally hiding marital property
Some people really resent the idea that they have to share their resources with their spouse and will try to hide a bank account or even physical belongings so that their spouse can’t claim them in the divorce. If the courts or the lawyer of the other spouse discover the hidden assets, the courts can alter the property division process to punish the spouse who hid that property to try to get more than what they should have from the marital estate.
With the rare exception of financial misconduct, most spouses can’t expect financial justice from the courts related to marital misconduct. Learning more about property division rules for Indiana divorces by speaking with an experienced legal professional can help people to push for the most appropriate outcome given their unique marital circumstances.