Dissipation of marital assets is something that is often rooted in nothing more complex than spite. You file for a divorce. Your spouse does not want the marriage to end. To get back at you, they begin to waste the marital assets as quickly as possible, thereby preventing you from getting your fair share of them.
Dissipation of assets goes beyond mere spending. It is wasteful, intentional spending for no reason other than to get rid of assets that would otherwise have been divided.
You may be asking yourself the obvious question: Would your spouse really do this if they would be equally damaged by it? For instance, if your spouse wastes $100,000 that you would have divided in half, you both lose $50,000.
Some people will do this, however, especially when they have a very high income and they already spend money freely. Maybe your spouse knows that everything they lose can be earned back in the next year or two with some careful budgeting. They will gladly waste money up front, keeping you from getting it, with the intent of replacing that money in the future.
In other situations, people spend money in ways that benefit them. For example, your spouse may waste money on a month-long personal vacation that starts the day after you file for divorce. They essentially get to spend your money on their own trip.
If you think that your spouse is hiding or wasting assets intentionally, you must know what legal options you have. An experienced family law attorney can provide valuable guidance.