Dissipation of Marital Property in Tennessee Divorce Law


Dissipation of Marital Property in Tennessee Divorce Law

Memphis divorce attorney Miles Mason, Sr. discusses the effect of wasting assets prior to divorce.  In general, in order for spending to be considered dissipation, it must be wasteful.  If assets were deemed to be dissipated, the spouse who wasted the asset will be held responsible for repaying some or all of the amount to be repaid to the other spouse.

A recent Tennessee legal opinion stated:

Trial courts must distinguish between what marital expenditures are wasteful and self-serving and those which may be ill-advised but not so far removed from ‘normal’ expenditures occurring previously within the marital relationship to render them destructive. . . . In determining whether dissipation occurred, we find trial court should consider the following:

(1) whether the evidence presented at trial supports the alleged purpose of the various expenditures, and if so,

(2) whether the alleged purpose equates to dissipation under the circumstances. . . .

The first prong is an objective test. To satisfy this test, the dissipating spouse can bring forward evidence, such as receipts, vouchers, claims, or other similar evidence that independently support the purpose as alleged. The second prong requires the court to make an equitable determination based upon a number of factors. Those factors include:

(1) the typicality of the expenditure to this marriage;

(2) the benefactor of the expenditure, namely, whether it primarily benefited the marriage or primarily benefited the sole dissipating spouse;

(3) the proximity of the expenditure to the breakdown of the marital relationship;

(4) the amount of the expenditure.”

 

For more information on Tennessee divorce and family law, see:

Miles Mason, Sr. authored The Forensic Accounting Deskbook: A Practical Guide to Financial Investigation and Analysis for Family Lawyers, published by the American Bar Association.  Miles Mason, Sr. JD, CPA handles complex divorce matters including business valuations and forensic accounting issues. View his professional biography listing books and articles published on business valuation and forensic accounting and seminars presented to lawyers, judges, business valuation experts, and forensic accountants.  The Miles Mason Family Law Group, PLC’s offices are located in Memphis, Tennessee. Contact Us today at (901) 683-1850.

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