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Financial misconduct is common before and during divorce

Divorce is almost always a stressful process, but the choices that spouses make can make it that much worse. The average person is not likely on their best behavior during divorce proceedings. Instead, their intense emotions may lead them to engage in conduct that is atypical for them.

People want to punish their spouses or manipulate the divorce process so that they feel like they won. The financial misconduct of a spouse can have major implications for divorce proceedings. Those who identify financial misconduct can potentially speak up about their concerns to secure a better divorce outcome. While the family courts typically don’t punish people for behaving poorly, certain monetary decisions before and during a divorce could lead to consequences.

Wasting assets is a common divorce concern

It is for one spouse to use the marital estate to manipulate or punish the other. For example, a spouse who discovers infidelity or who has other grievances about their marriage might intentionally destroy clothing or electronics. They might sell their spouse’s personal property in a yard sale for pennies on the dollar. Such conduct likely constitutes dissipation or the wasteful destruction of marital resources.

Others may go out on shopping sprees. They may burn through paychecks, empty savings accounts and max out credit cards. Any proof that someone engaged in unusual financial conduct intended to diminish the value of the marital estate could ultimately affect the final decree in the divorce. Judges can factor in the dissipation of marital property when deciding how to allocate resources.

Trying to hide assets is another form of misconduct

Another way that people may attempt to manipulate the outcome of divorce proceedings involves hiding assets. This might be a physical process that involves removing resources from the marital home.

It might be financial trickery as someone begins diverting a portion of their paycheck from the marital checking account to use for their own purposes. Sometimes, people try to hide marital wealth in plain sight by disclosing the assets but intentionally undervaluing them when making disclosures to their spouse or the courts.

Someone who has proof of hidden assets can sometimes convince the courts to factor that misconduct into other financial decisions. Someone who lies about their personal holdings or tries to hide property to avoid dividing it could end up penalized for that bad behavior.

While most types of marital misconduct do not influence divorce outcomes, financial misconduct immediately prior to and during divorce can potentially impact the outcome of property division proceedings. Looking over financial records carefully can help people determine whether hidden assets or other financial misconduct may affect their divorces.