Does it matter what a horrible person my soon-to-be-ex was when the court looks at the evidence?
October 21, 2022 at 8:30 PM
by Amanda
Couple fight each other

There are two circumstances that I have encountered that the Court will consider when making a decision on how to divide the marital estate. The marital estate is comprised of the assets, like bank accounts, retirements, cars and things with value minus the debts, such as mortgages, car loans, etc.

The first is when someone was provably squandering money and the appropriate pleading is filed. The Court has to be alerted that as the marriage was ending, someone was dissipating assets.

Dissipation is the transfer or destruction of assets when the marriage was dying or dead. This would include transferring the ownership of a business to a family member for little value, allowing the martial house to go into foreclosure or hiding assets in another person’s name. These types of cases often require an attorney to hire an expert to value the asset and find it. They can easily cost a client hundreds of thousands of dollars (yes, really, $100,000) or more. If it can be conclusively proven that someone dissipated the marital estate, they will probably not get much in the final result.

The next one is when a spouse hurts another and is charged criminally for doing it. If one spouse tries to burn down the house with their soon to be former spouse trapped in it, and the trapped person is badly burned, then the medical care and other costs will probably be taxed to the spouse who set fire to the house. In other words, committing a crime towards your other spouse will mean you may get nothing from your marriage (and spend time in jail).

So no, the Court does not punish a spouse who cheated, who drank too much, was emotionally abusive or left, by giving them nothing. Non-criminal bad behavior is something the Court does not want to hear about. It clouds the issue, which is the division of the estate.

If you can move past how your spouse has hurt you and decide to focus on settling your case with your-soon-to-be-ex, reach out. You can call me or contact me on my website.