What To Do if Your Spouse Is Recklessly Spending Money Before Your Divorce

Divorce can be an overwhelming experience, and the process can be difficult to understand and navigate. To complicate matters, one spouse may begin to recklessly spend money before the divorce is finalized. While divorce can be an emotionally charged time for both spouses, they are required to abstain from reckless spending that negatively impacts their joint assets. This type of spending is also known as “dissipation,” which can cause several legal issues down the line. If you believe your spouse is frivolously spending money before your divorce goes through, our team can help.

At Vahey Law and Mediation, LLC, we work with clients in several family law and estate planning cases. We understand how stressful your situation is, and our goal is to help you navigate this process and ensure you receive what you’re entitled to. Divorce is a challenging process on its own, and you deserve to be treated fairly every step of the way.

What to do if your spouse is recklessly spending money before your divorce

How Does Dissipation Impact Divorce?

To be considered dissipation, the spending must have occurred after there was an “irretrievable breakdown.” Also, the money spent must have only benefitted one of the spouses. If a spouse purchases something that is considered beneficial for the entire family, this generally isn’t considered reckless spending. Purchases that are considered reckless spending can include:

  • Gambling debts
  • New cars
  • Vacations
  • Anything spent on extramarital affairs
  • Business losses

In a divorce, assets are typically distributed evenly. If you’re both entitled to half of the money in your joint bank account, a spouse may start recklessly spending to gain an advantage. Because your marital assets will be distributed fairly between you two, you’ll end up with less money and assets. This may seem daunting, but you have legal options available to hold your spouse accountable.

If you believe your spouse is recklessly spending money before your divorce, a Joliet divorce lawyer can examine your case and determine how to proceed. For example, if your spouse was never a large spender in the past, you may have a case if you notice they’re gambling, going on vacations, and buying new cars.

How to File a Dissipation Claim

If you believe your spouse is carelessly spending money before your divorce is finalized, you’ll want to file a claim and speak with a lawyer immediately. You can file a claim 60 days before a trial date is scheduled, or you can file it 30 days before the end of the divorce period’s discovery process.

The court will then look at what was recently spent. If they conclude that dissipation occurred, this will impact how marital assets are distributed. Your spouse may also be required to reimburse you for their purchases.

Filing a dissipation claim can be done on your own, but as with any legal matter, this can be challenging to do solo. Having an experienced lawyer by your side ensures you understand your rights, and you’ll have the ability to ask your lawyer any questions about the process along the way. A lawyer can also evaluate your situation before going to court and build a strong case to defend you. You deserve to go through your divorce as efficiently and as stress-free as possible. If you feel your spouse is trying to take advantage of the situation, you have legal options available.


Q: What Is Considered Excessive Spending in a Divorce?

A: Excessive spending, also known as dissipation, can include any of the following: vacationing, money spent on extramarital affairs, gambling, and new vehicles. Excessive spending only benefits one spouse, and they typically do this to take advantage of the divorce process. Because they know their assets will be split between the couple, they’ll spend most of their money, leaving their partner with little. However, with the right lawyer, you can hold your spouse accountable.

Q: How Do You Stop Your Spouse From Spending Money During a Divorce?

A: If you suspect your spouse is or is planning to spend all of your money before the divorce goes through, you can submit a request to freeze all marital assets. In doing so, your spouse won’t have any access to your bank account, which prevents them from accessing money that should be split evenly. No matter the situation, you should seek legal representation when going through a divorce, and they can provide additional advice for your situation.

Q: Can You Sue Your Spouse for Spending Money During a Divorce?

A: Yes, you can sue your spouse for recklessly spending money during a divorce. If you believe your spouse is spending money only to benefit themselves, you may have a case. In this case, speak to a divorce lawyer immediately so they can evaluate your situation. If your spouse was found to be spending money on vacations, gambling, or other large expenses that negatively impacts you, you can take legal action.

Q: Can You Empty Your Bank Account Before a Divorce?

A: If a spouse empties a bank account before a divorce, this can lead to significant legal repercussions. The court can also force the spouse to reimburse the money to their partner. It is highly recommended to avoid emptying a bank account before a divorce. If you believe your spouse may begin recklessly spending your money, you can request to freeze your assets.

Vahey Law & Mediation, LLC Can Help

At Vahey Law & Mediation, LLC, we’ve worked with several clients with family law and estate planning matters for over a decade. We understand how serious and stressful divorce proceedings can be, and we’re ready to make the process simpler for you.

If you believe your spouse is planning to or is already spending money in ways that don’t benefit you, you may have grounds for a case. By contacting our team, we can determine if you have a dissipation case and work diligently to ensure you receive the assets you deserve. Going through a divorce is difficult enough for anyone, and we want to prevent your situation from becoming more problematic.

To learn more about how we can help, contact us today.


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