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Property division and dissipation in a divorce

Some Colorado couples know when it is time to end a marriage through divorce. In fact, there are many so-called "uncontested" divorces that occur every year. But, those are best-case scenarios, with couples who may have no children, limited assets and nothing really to fight over -- both want to move on with life.

However, the reality is that there are also divorce cases in which the two sides are highly aggressive, fighting for every asset and doing their best to try to ensure the other spouse gets as little as possible. There are even cases where one spouse will attempt to deliberately dispose of assets to reduce the amount at stake in the case. This is known as the "dissipation" of assets.

Why would a spouse want to waste assets? Well, as a recent article noted, some people are so spiteful that they figure it is best to dispose of the assets, while the divorce is pending. Then, they earn back what they can after the divorce.

Some spouses might gamble the assets away, or perhaps, spend money on a new romantic acquaintance. There are many reasons and ways to dissipate assets, and sometimes, the other spouse may not realize it is occurring until it is too late.

Why is the dissipation of assets a problem? Because property division is such a big part of most divorces. Couples work hard to accumulate assets, and if the time comes with a divorce is necessary those assets should be as equally divided as possible.

But, even if one spouse believes the other is deliberately wasting assets, it can be a hard claim to prove. As the recent article pointed out, the spending by the other spouse must be substantial, and it must be unusual or frivolous.

Source: Forbes, "What Is Dissipation Of Assets In Divorce And What, If Anything, Can You Do About It?," Jeff Landers, Nov. 1, 2016

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