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South Jersey & Philadelphia

Can your spouse max out the credit cards or empty your savings?

On Behalf of | Jul 15, 2021 | Property Division

Everyone handles intense emotions differently. The anger, grief or betrayal people experience during a divorce can prompt them to do some very questionable things. 

Some people go through an early midlife crisis, hopping from relationship to relationship and sabotaging their own careers through irresponsible behavior. Others sink into substance abuse and start drinking far too much. Others will engage in retail therapy or may try to exact revenge. 

Both compulsive shopping as an expression of emotional stress and vindictive spending could be a real concern if you file for divorce. Can your spouse just empty the savings account on a spa weekend or max out all of your credit cards on a shopping spree because you filed for divorce?

Wasteful spending will impact what happens in your divorce

Typically, the New Jersey family courts expect divorcing spouses to cooperate and set terms for property division or to disclose their assets so that a judge can divide their property. Attempts to manipulate the property division process can trigger penalties if the courts for a spouse discover such behavior. 

Dissipation or the intentional wasting of marital funds can absolutely affect the outcome of a divorce. The courts may hold an individual who engages in that behavior solely responsible for the debts they incur or reduce their share of the marital estate buy whatever they spent or otherwise dissipated. A fair or equitable outcome will usually have to consider wasteful spending and other forms of financial manipulation. 

What can you do to protect yourself if your spouse starts playing games with money?

Although you may not be able to actually stop your acts from engaging in inappropriate conduct, you can document it so that the courts can hold them accountable when splitting your assets in a pending divorce.

Make certain that you also address the issue with your legal counsel. They can help you pursue what’s appropriate in your case.