When you divorce, you officially separate your life from your spouse’s. You no longer have financial or legal responsibility for their actions or decisions the way you might during a marriage.
However, until the courts finalize your divorce, you are still vulnerable. Their income and spending can still influence your financial future. Your ex might even intentionally try to manipulate the divorce process so that you receive less than you should.
Some couples already have marital agreements that determine how they split their property. If you do not have an agreement with your spouse, then you either need to negotiate a settlement with them or litigate the division of your property. Recognizing two forms of misconduct by your spouse that could influence what you receive in the divorce can help you protect yourself from this kind of misbehavior.
The dissipation of marital assets
You can’t share what you don’t possess. Some spouses will make an intentional effort to reduce the value of the marital estate. They might give away valuable property to others or sell household belongings for a fraction of their fair market value.
On the other hand, they could spend all of the money in your bank account or absolutely max out all of the credit cards for your household, diminishing your shared resources by thousands of dollars. If you can show that your spouse’s spending or gifts were an attempt to deprive you of marital assets, the courts may factor that wastefulness into their decision-making process.
The intentional hiding of marital property
Items that you purchased and income that either of you earned while married are marital assets. You need to report them to the courts and to your ex so that you can arrange a fair division of your property.
Some people will intentionally hide assets or choose not to report them to their spouses and the courts. They might report the assets but dramatically undervalue them so that their spouse can’t claim their full worth in the divorce.
Both hidden assets and dissipated marital assets can drastically alter the outcome of property division proceedings. Identifying common forms of misconduct during asset division can help you protect yourself from your spouse’s bad intentions.