Skip to main content

During a divorce case and division of assets , is it just the assets that exist at the time of divorce that divided?

New York, NY |

what if one spouse had blown a million over 20 years in las vegas and the other had spent half a million on fine dining previous to the divorce over 20 years?

Attorney Answers 4


  1. Best answer

    The debts and assets that exist at the time of the divorce are all the court can divide--what doesn't exist cannot be "divided". That said, when dividing whatever there is available, the court will consider the parties' marital lifestyle and any circumstances that may have occurred in "contemplation of divorce" such as emptying bank accounts, or economically wasteful behavior. If your questions is anything more than hypothetical, speak to an attorney immediately! Good luck!

    Ms. Brown may be reached at 718-878-6886 during regular business hours, or anytime by email at: marykatherinebrown@hotmail.com. All of Ms. Brown's responses to questions posted on AVVO are intended as general information based upon the facts stated in the question, and are provided for educational purposes of the public, not any specific individual, and her response to the question above is not legal advice and it does not create an attorney-client relationship. Ms. Brown is licensed to practice law in New York. If you would like to obtain specific legal advice about this issue, you must contact an attorney who is licensed to practice law in your state.


  2. The court usually will not look at what happened during the marriage (especially over 20 years). The court generally will not go back and judge or figure out how people chose to live/spend money while married. The courts would be packed if people getting divorced could say "he spent this, she spent that." The "marital estate" is what exists at the time the parties are getting divorced.

    There is a theory called "dissipation of assets" that is when one spouse behaves in a way that reduces the value of the marital estate, however, again, the court usually just looks at the situation as it was around the time of the divorce and does not go back in time.

    This is all very general information. Every situation is different. A consultation with an experienced matrimonial attorney would be the best course of action

    * This information is general legal information and is not intended to be advice on your particular case. If you find the information helpful, please let me know by clicking the button!


  3. A court can determine if a party has dissipated marital assets and take that into consideration when determining what percentage of the assets each party will receive.


  4. A Court can consider the issue of marital waste in dividing what assets left, or possibly issue a distributive award to the non-wasteful spouse. For a full assessment, schedule a consultation with a NYC Divorce attorney.

    * If you found my answer to be "HELPFUL," or the "BEST ANSWER," please feel free to mark it accordingly.

Divorce topics

Top tips from attorneys

What others are asking

Questions?
An attorney can help.

Post a question and get free legal advice from attorneys.

Ask a Lawyer

- or -

Search for lawyers by reviews and ratings.

Find a Lawyer

Browse all legal topics