Virginia Family Law
A Blog by Jason A Weis, Esq.
Virginia & Maryland Family Law Attorney

Marital Waste in Virginia Divorce

Marital Waste in Virginia Divorce

A recent New York Times article reconfirmed the findings of a 1998 study suggesting that when it comes to choosing a mate, people tend to gravitate toward a partner with spending habits opposite from their own. Researchers who analyzed several studies in which married couples were asked to describe their feelings about spending found that the more of a spendthrift or tightwad a spouse was, the more likely he or she was to have married someone with the opposite approach. That is, “tightwads,” who generally spend less than they would ideally like to spend, and “spendthrifts,” who generally spend more than they would ideally like to spend, tend to marry each other. This is consistent with the notion that adults are attracted to mates who possess characteristics dissimilar to those they deplore in themselves. Put more simply: each spouse hopes the other will balance out his/her spending habits. Alas, these findings were coupled with findings that these “financial opposites attract marriages” also result in conflict and little long term satisfaction.

Marital waste in Virginia divorce is often a problem.  Without question, financial issues can impact your marital relationship and in certain circumstances your spouse’s spending habits may be relevant in a divorce proceeding. The Commonwealth of Virginia recognizes the theory of “marital waste.” This is the notion that a party can squander or destroy marital resources, which must be replaced prior to property division. It typically occurs in anticipation of divorce or separation when one spouse exhausts marital funds for purposes unrelated to the marriage or in derogation of the marital relationship. Some specific examples of marital waste can include: (i) investing in speculative stock ventures; (ii) paying off gambling debts; (iii) fraudulently selling property (including the marital residence) below value; (iv) transferring sums to family members immediately prior to separation; (v) unreasonable entertainment expenses immediately prior to separation; (vi) loans or cash advances to a family member; (vii) monies paid in association with an extra-marital relationship; or (ix) monies paid in association with criminal activities.

If you would like to discuss marital waste and how it might relate to your pending separation, feel free to drop me a line.


My experience and background reflect the hallmarks of success one must demand of a lawyer in Northern Virginia's legal landscape.  As a native of this area, I have here focused my practice on providing sound and balanced representation to clients navigating the difficult legal waters of family law, including contested divorce, custody, visitation, spousal and child support, and equitable distribution.  More >>>

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Jason A. Weis, Esquire
Curran Moher Weis
10300 Eaton Place, Suite 520
Fairfax, Virginia 22030

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Legal Disclaimer

Thank you for taking the time to read this blog. I hope you find the information here as enjoyable to read as I find to write. Please note that reading this blog does not create a legal relationship between you and Jason A. Weis, Esquire or any other attorney associated with Moreover, all postings on this blog are merely attorneys' commentary on the state of family law in the Commonwealth of Virginia. THE POSTINGS ARE NOT LEGAL ADVICE – if you have a legal issue or question, I strongly encourage you to contact a lawyer. I would be pleased to refer you to someone if I am able.