For most divorcing couples, property division is one of the most important and high-stakes parts of the process. In Georgia, divorcing spouses must divide their marital assets equitably. Each party must get a fair share of the marital property, but the two of them are not required to divide them exactly 50-50. Of course, you cannot split up assets that have been spent before your divorce is final.
What is marital wasting?
Marital wasting is the attempt by one spouse in a divorce to reduce the marital asset pot, often to “punish” their ex. An unscrupulous spouse can accomplish this in several ways:
- Purposely stopping mortgage and/or auto loan payments to cause the lender to foreclose on the house or repossess the vehicle.
- Giving away assets to their relatives and friends.
- Spending money on an affair partner
- Buying expensive vacations, concerts or sports tickets
- Gambling away the funds
Both of you are entitled to pay for normal living expenses while your divorce is pending, like housing, food and the children’s school costs. But marital waste, also known as dissipation of assets, is not allowed under Georgia divorce law. If you believe your spouse is dissipating assets, you can file a complaint with the divorce court. To prove your case, you must present evidence that your spouse has deliberately spent or squandered marital assets to deprive you of your share. If the judge is convinced, they could award you a greater share of the remaining marital property.
Proving marital waste can be challenging because the evidence can be very subtle. An experienced divorce attorney will know the signs of dissipation and how to make a strong case in court.