Many people going through divorce feel concerned that they will receive an unfair outcome. There are many stories floating around on the internet and in popular culture of people whose lives seem to have spiraled out of control during and after a divorce. Unfair rulings can happen, but the truth is that the family laws in Florida aim to keep things as fair for everyone involved as possible.

Unfortunately, despite the courts’ best intentions, some people want desperately to inflict some kind of suffering on their ex. This can lead people to take extreme actions in the hope of cutting their ex out of some of the marital estate, especially if it will be a high-asset divorce. One of the more common ways that people try to manipulate the outcome of a divorce unfairly is dissipation. What does this practice involve?

Dissipation involves using marital property for personal gain

Unless you have an in-depth prenuptial agreement with specific financial terms, what you earned during the marriage and the property that you acquire belongs to both you and your spouse. You have an obligation to use those funds responsibly for the betterment of your household or marital estate.

When people know divorce is imminent or when they stop prioritizing their marriage, they may start misusing marital property for personal or selfish reasons. For example, someone might go on a spending spree and buy designer clothing or season tickets to a professional sports team as a way to waste household assets before the divorce.

In some cases, they may spend a lot of money. Other times, dissipation involves giving away assets to others. Dissipation can also involve racking up debt. Finally, money spent conducting extramarital affairs or engaging in other activity that actively undermines the marital relationship may constitute dissipation.

What effect does dissipation have on your property settlement?

The Florida courts try to find a fair way to split up your property so that you can enjoy the best possible life after marriage. When one spouse intentionally wastes property so that their partner can’t access it, that is contrary to the intent of the court.

It is also unfair to the spouse who didn’t waste those assets. If you can demonstrate the value of the dissipated property or show how much someone spends on an affair or personal shopping, those amounts may impact the outcome of the property division process in your divorce.