Anderson & Boback Logo
spending hiding money before divorce

Thinking of Spending or Hiding Money Before Divorce? Think Again.

Categorized as Divorce, High Asset Divorce

Should you be hiding money before divorce? Or, what about spending or transferring money before divorce?

I seem to get a lot of questions like this lately.

When people are considering a divorce and seeking out a divorce attorney, they always want to know what they can do with their money.  Can they take all of their money out of the bank?  Can they take half of it and secrete it from their spouse?  Can they spend it?

Dissipation and Spending Money Before Getting a Divorce

Under the law, when a party in a divorce case takes money and spends it, it can be considered dissipation. For such spending to qualify as dissipation, the money must have been taken during a time when the marriage was undergoing an “irretrievable breakdown” and must have been spent on something not of a marital purpose.

Most marriages start breaking down long before the first divorce petition is filed, so spending the money a month before you file for divorce will still be considered dissipation.  There is no bright line to figure out what is dissipation and what is not.

  • If the money was taken and spent on gambling, I believe that would be considered dissipation.
  • If the money was taken and used to pay the mortgage, it might be considered dissipation, or it might not.

The facts of each case are different, and no hard-line rule applies.

Financial Records and Money Used for “Marital Purpose”

When you are undergoing a divorce, all of your financial records will be scrutinized.  It’s important that you are able to document and account for all expenditures.  If you take cash out of your account and have no records demonstrating what it was spent on, your spouse may allege that you have dissipated those monies.  If you can demonstrate that the money was used for a legitimate marital purpose, then it is not dissipation.  Poor record-keeping can lead to a claim of dissipation.

Making Decisions About Money Before Divorce

To make your case run smoother, I would recommend that you do not remove funds from your bank accounts.  It only scares your spouse and makes them believe that you are going to spend it. That leads to unwarranted court attention and a waste of everyone’s time.  Instead, speak to your spouse about dividing the money and placing it in separate accounts.  That way, both of you feel comfortable that the money won’t be spent by the other, and each of you has a heads up about the withdrawal. Communication about the money can save a lot of unnecessary hours in court.

If you are wondering about large money decisions when involved in or contemplating divorce, it is recommended that you speak with an experienced attorney as soon as possible. Contact us today so our divorce attorneys can provide the legal guidance you need about divorce and divorce-related financial issues like spending or hiding money before divorce.

Was this information helpful?

You May Also Like

Maintenance, formerly known as alimony, is a relief granted to a party in a dissolution of marriage case that equitably restores to the party a standard of living to which they became acclimated during the marriage.  For spouses going through…

Visitation interference occurs when the custodial parent in some way interferes with your ability to spend parenting time with your child or visit with them.  In Illinois, a parent has a couple of options when the other parent interferes with…

We receive inquiries regularly from parents of children in Illinois regarding whether or not they can remove their child from the state of Illinois when they are estranged from their child’s other parent.  The answer varies, depending on different situations.…

People often are confused about the difference between a Civil Union and a Domestic Partnership, and what their rights are if their partner, to whom they are not married, leaves them or predeceases them.  This blog is designed to explain…

One of the most hot-button terms in parenting cases in Cook County is “alienation”, meaning that one parent is actively seeking to keep the child from having a relationship with their other parents. The current laws on parenting favor both…

In Illinois, there are two main ways to go about changing your minor child’s name: by agreement, and by Court adjudication of the issue.  As with all things related to co-parenting a minor child, the easiest and least costly method…

Anderson & Boback small logo

Download our Divorce Planning Guide today!

Get the information you need to prepare for divorce with our free resource Guide to Planning for Your Divorce.

What our clients are saying

Schedule a Discreet Consultation Today!

    Firm Overview

    Anderson & Boback is a highly-respected, experienced Chicago family law firm, skilled in negotiation and litigation. When divorce and other family law issues make your life chaotic and uncertain, you want your case resolved as quickly and fairly as possible. Call Now 312-715-0870