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What is the Dissipation of Assets in a Florida Divorce?


Adultery is one of the most common reasons for divorce. However, Florida is a no-fault state when it comes to divorce. That means that fault-based grounds are not considered by the court when determining the division of assets. In Florida, the only legal grounds for divorce is the breakdown of the marriage colloquially known as irreconcilable differences. However, adultery can be considered when one spouse spends a great deal of money on an affair. In this case, the spouse is said to be dissipating the marital estate and using it for their own benefit. The courts can consider the dissipation of the marital estate when they are determining how to divide it between the two spouses.

Adultery is not the only means by which the marital estate can be dissipated. Gambling is another one. In some cases, the spouse will attempt to dissipate assets intentionally to avoid the other spouse using it as leverage in the marriage. This is generally considered illegal and can have a profound impact on how assets are divided in Florida. In this article, we’ll discuss the dissipation of assets in a Florida divorce.

Dissipation of assets is usually intentional 

In Florida, a spouse must establish that the other spouse intentionally used marital assets to dissipate the marital estate of value. Gambling is one of the most common ways to dissipate assets from the marital estate. A spouse may go to Las Vegas and spend thousands of dollars that belong to both partners on gambling. In Florida, a spouse is entitled to recover 50% of what was dissipated by gambling or money spent on an adulterous affair. However, there is a two-year statute of limitations on the recovery of dissipated assets. That means that you can only recover assets within two years of them being spent outside the marriage.

Another common way of dissipating marital assets is running up credit card debt. When the marital estate is divided, assets and liabilities are divided 50/50. Half of that credit card debt would be considered the liability of each spouse. However, if the money was spent only for the benefit of one spouse, that can be considered when the court divides assets. The court would then assign the liability to only one spouse.

In the cases mentioned above, the court would have to determine that the dissipation of marital assets was unjustified. Spending money on your own interests isn’t quite enough to prove that the conduct was an intentional effort to dissipate assets from the marital estate. Under Florida law, the dissipation of marital assets must be considered unjustified and wasteful. In some cases, spouses do try to waste marital assets in anticipation of a divorce. If that’s the case with your marriage, you’ll want to ensure that you make that argument known while your divorce is being finalized.

Talk to a Tampa, FL Divorce Attorney Today 

Westchase Law, P.A. represents the interests of Florida couples during divorce. Call our Tampa family lawyers today to schedule an appointment, and we can address any concerns you have about your marital estate.

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