Your divorce was unpleasant from the start, but you expected that you’d eventually walk away with your fair share of the marital assets. North Carolina is, after all, an equitable distribution state, so judges always try to be fair when spouses can’t agree on a way to divide their marital property.

The only problem is that you found out your spouse had depleted your bank accounts and skimmed as much as possible out of your other investments without your knowledge. Maybe they had an affair and the money was used to pay for lavish gifts and romantic getaways. Maybe they gambled it away out of spite just so you couldn’t have your fair share.

The only problem is that you found out your spouse had depleted your bank accounts and skimmed as much as possible out of your other investments without your knowledge. Maybe they had an affair and the money was used to pay for lavish gifts and romantic getaways. Maybe they gambled it away out of spite just so you couldn’t have your fair share.

Your spouse may have a few unpleasant surprises coming. The dissipation of assets in a divorce, or “marital waste,” is treated very seriously by the courts.

What sort of things could be considered a waste of the marital assets? Consider these examples:

  • Running up the credit cards with the idea of sticking the debt to the other spouse
  • Selling an expensive piece of property for a nominal fee, like a sports car for $1
  • Suddenly taking up expensive hobbies or traveling to exotic places
  • Dramatically increased spending on leisure activities, food, drugs or alcohol
  • Suddenly going on a spending-spree that’s unusual for your lifestyle

In situations like these, the court may penalize the errant spouse in numerous ways, including by awarding the disadvantaged spouse a greater share of what’s left. If your spouse seems to have made off with a substantial amount of the marital funds prior to your divorce, it’s smart to get experienced legal help as soon as possible.