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Do you have to pay for your ex’s pre-filing shopping spree?

| May 25, 2021 | Property Division |

You and your spouse’s behaviors may change significantly as you near divorce. Neither of you may be on your best behavior anymore. In fact, it’s not uncommon for those considering divorce to be outright mean and petty with one another. 

One of the more common ways spouses try to punish their ex during a divorce is by wasting money. Some husbands or wives will empty out savings accounts or spend every cent in the checking one. Others might rack up huge credit card debt by spending money no one in your household has even earned yet. 

Will you have to pay the bills your ex accumulates as a way to punish you?

Can you show the courts their wasteful spending was intentional?

If your ex knew that you wanted to file for divorce, then they may have gone out shopping, buying new furniture, a fancy outfit or even hundreds of dollars of frivolous items that serve no real purpose. They likely did so because they expect that you will have to help pay for those purchases. 

Although you did agree to joint finances when you got married, your spouse should not intentionally use marital assets in a way that damages your relationship or only benefits them. Such wasteful spending is dissipation. Money spent on a shopping spree after the marriage started to decline might constitute dissipation, just like money spent on an affair would. 

If you can prove that your ex went out spending money as a way to punish you, then you may be able to convince the courts to exclude those amounts from property division, making your ex solely responsible for them.