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Financial fraud can affect property division

For most Florida couples who are considering divorce, dividing marital wealth is one of the most significant aspects of that process. In some cases, one spouse suspects that the other is not being completely honest about the full range of family financial assets, but is unsure how to approach the issue. This can be especially true in cases in which money has gone missing in the past, or when one spouse is kept out of the family's financial matters. When the time comes to address property division, many spouses want to find assurance that they will be able to walk away with their fair share of marital wealth.

While there are certainly cases in which large-scale financial fraud is an issue, dissipation of marital funds is a far more common occurrence. Dissipation takes place when one spouse acts to intentionally minimize marital assets. These actions may be linked to an act of infidelity, or could result from addictive behaviors. In some cases, a spouse will dissipate marital assets simply out of anger in order to prevent their partner from gaining any benefit from those assets.

An example might be the intentional destruction of marital property, such as burning items out of anger. A more passive-aggressive tactic might be to leave valuable tools or equipment out in the elements to rust or become inoperative. Some spouses will sell valuable items for nearly nothing, in an effort to avoid having to give his or her partner a share of the value of those items.

It can be difficult for Florida residents to determine when dissipation of marital wealth has reached a level at which a response is necessary. For those who witness acts similar to the ones mentioned above, it might be worthwhile to make an appointment with a family law attorney to discuss the matter. In some cases, dissipation of marital wealth can be factored into the property division process, and the spouse who has been harmed can attain a greater share of other assets to make up for any losses related to dissipation.

Source: The Huffington Post, "Financial Fraud and Divorce", Peggy L. Tracy, Oct. 2, 2015

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