What is dissipation in the context of a divorce?

By Madilyn Keating Ellsworth
July 31, 2017
What is dissipation in the context of a divorce?

Dissipation is the use of marital assets for a non-marital purpose. Oftentimes during a divorce one spouse will utilize assets for their own benefit for the purpose that does not further anything related to the marriage. Courts are protective of marital assets and do what they can to maintain the integrity of marital assets throughout the divorce proceedings so that the parties are in as well of a position as possible upon the dissolution of the marriage.

An example would be if the parties have a large amount of money in a savings account or held as another asset, and one of the parties uses those funds or their income for purposes not related to the marriage. This includes going on a spending spree, purchasing luxury items, going on luxury vacations, spending the money on their paramour, or any expenditure of marital funds or marital assets that’s not related to expenses or purposes that the parties had agreed to, and had utilized the funds for during the marriage.


Madilyn Keating Ellsworth is an associate attorney at the Chicago-based firm Boyle Feinberg, P.C. Madilyn practices all aspects of family law including child custody, child support, distribution of assets, and post-dissolutions matters. To learn more about Madilyn and her firm, visit www.boylefeinbergfamilylaw.com or the firm’s profile.

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July 31, 2017
Categories:  Financial Issues|FAQs

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