What is “dissipated” marital property?

“Dissipated” marital property involves monies or assets which have been wrongfully disposed of before the divorce trial.

In Maryland, where one spouse uses marital property for his or her own benefit for a purpose unrelated to the marriage at a time when the marriage is undergoing an irreconcilable breakdown and with the intent to reduce funds available for equitable distribution, the Court may find the property is “dissipated.”

If the Court finds dissipation, it can include the dissipated property as marital property subject to equitable distribution.

The spouse claiming dissipation must establish a prima facie case [sufficient on its face] that marital monies were improperly used (e.g. payment of living expenses for someone other than your spouse or children). The burden then shifts to the spouse who spent the monies to show the expenditures were proper.