Can you take action if your spouse gives away marital property?

Not all of the value of your marital estate comes from your home and your bank accounts. Personal property can also be a major source of value. Maybe for much of your marriage, you kept all of your antique furniture in climate-controlled storage because it didn’t fit the aesthetic of your marital home. Now that you and your spouse intend to divorce, you expect to receive half of the overall value of those pieces.

When you ask your spouse about them, you find out that they gave those valuable pieces of furniture to their sibling or their coworker just days before filing for divorce. Giving away marital property or selling it for ridiculously low prices can be a tactic for angry people facing a divorce to diminish what their spouse gets in the property settlement.

Do you have any recourse available if your spouse gave away valuable property without your permission?

You can possibly take action if you can prove dissipation

When one person wastes resources technically owned by both spouses with the intent to undermine the marital union or harm their spouse, the courts call that behavior dissipation. There are a few important components to acts of dissipation.

The first is that the property in question is marital property that both spouses should share, even if it was income earned by one spouse. The second is that the spouse using those resources did so in a manner that they knew was bad for the marital relationship or the marital estate.

Intentionally giving away property so that the estate has a lower value is one example of dissipation. Spending a lot of your marital income on an affair is another example. People can also rack up credit card debt or spend every cent in joint accounts as a means of punishing their ex.

The Colorado family courts will consider dissipation claims during a divorce

When you are able to show a pattern of wasteful behavior that will have negative implications for your financial solvency, you are in a position to take action against your ex for their irresponsible behavior.

The courts may factor in the value of any dissipated property when deciding who should get what from your marriage. Verifying what assets and property went missing, as well as trying to establish a fair market value for that property, can help you demonstrate the impact of your spouse’s financial misconduct and ask for justice during your divorce.