Written by attorney Dustin Michael Butler

My spouse wasted all of our money gambling will this be considered during the Divorce?

The short answer is maybe. Prior to considering the impact of the dissipation of marital funds the Court will need to consider a couple important factors. First, when did this dissipation occur? For example if the gambling occurred throughout the marriage it will be less likely to be an major factor in determining the division of property. However, if it occurred immediately around separation it is more likely to result in an offset of marital property. Second the Court will determine if there was a “marital purpose" to the dissipation. Again, for example, if one spouse gambled while entertaining business clients which contributed to marital income, the dissipation will likely not favor an unequal offset. However, if one spouse was an addict who simply wasted marital funds on gambling it could favor an unequal distribution.

In a recent case from just north of Fort Myers, the Court found that a Husband who gambled as part of entertaining clients throughout the entire marriage was serving a marital purpose. As such the Court found it inappropriate to penalize him at the divorce for these actions. The Court found that while the Wife may have been frustrated by these actions throughout the marriage, the actions obviously served a marital purpose.

See,Zambuto v. Zambuto, 36 Fla. L. Weekly D2758 (Fla. 2nd DCA 2011).

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