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Identifying and stopping dissipation of assets

Pennsylvania residents who are going through a divorce may be concerned about dissipation of assets. This occurs when one spouse wastes assets in an effort to keep the other spouse from receiving their fair share of marital property. It might be done through spending money on a new partner, gambling or some other means. While the amount spent might be relatively trivial for high-earning individuals who know they can earn the money back after divorce, for people who have not worked outside the home in years, that share of the marital assets could be crucial in getting on their feet financially after the divorce.

One potential solution is seeking a temporary restraining order. This will prohibit the other spouse from making changes to the marital finances. However, if a person has already spent the money or does so anyway, it might be necessary to try to track the activity.

In order to prove in court that dissipation of assets has occurred, the spending must be both unusual and frivolous. It must also represent a substantive amount of money. Reviewing bank and credit card statements might show these expenditures, but some individuals are careful to hide their spending. A forensic accountant may be able to uncover dissipation of assets in these circumstances.

Hiding assets might be a similar concern. This might be particularly difficult to identify in a high-asset divorce. People who are considering divorce might want to discuss the family financial situation with an attorney prior to discussing the divorce with their spouse if they are concerned about either hiding or dissipation of assets. Individuals may also want to be sure they understand what they are entitled to. For example, they are probably entitled to a portion of retirement accounts after a long marriage even if they did not directly contribute to them.

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