Marital Waste in Virginia Divorce

By | October 10, 2010
child support 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.


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