At Rose Sanders Family Law Firm, we understand that marital disputes can be an emotionally challenging and legally complex experience. The realization of a spouse’s infidelity is indeed painful, and the discovery that your spouse has been using community funds to support their affair can only add to the distress.
Understanding the implications of such an act and knowing the possible legal recourses available to you can provide some clarity and potentially influence the outcomes of divorce settlements. This blog aims to provide a basic overview of the situation.
Community Property and Marital Misconduct
Most states in the U.S., including California, Texas, and Arizona, follow community property rules, meaning that assets and earnings accumulated during marriage are considered owned equally by both spouses. This includes income, real property, and personal property that one spouse purchases during the marriage.
So, if a spouse uses community money to support their extramarital affair, it can be considered a form of financial misconduct or waste of community assets. However, it’s important to note that laws vary by state and not all states take marital misconduct into account during property division.
Impact of Infidelity on Divorce Proceedings
Contrary to popular belief, infidelity does not always impact divorce outcomes. Most states have adopted “no-fault” divorce laws, which means that the courts do not need to consider who was at fault for the marriage breakdown when deciding on property division or spousal support. However, that’s not to say that infidelity has no impact at all on divorce proceedings.
Spending Community Money on an Affair: A Case of Dissipation
Dissipation of marital assets refers to the situation where one spouse uses marital property for their own benefit for a purpose unrelated to the marriage at a time where the marriage is undergoing an irreconcilable breakdown. If your spouse has been using community property to fund their affair, it could be considered dissipation.
The dissipated assets may be calculated and factored into the marital property division during divorce. For example, if a husband spends $50,000 of marital assets on an affair, a court may award the wife an additional $50,000 in assets to compensate for the husband’s misuse of marital property.
Recovering Dissipated Assets
To recover dissipated assets, you must prove that your spouse used marital funds for non-marital purposes. This includes demonstrating that your spouse spent the money at a time the marriage was breaking down. Gathering bank statements, credit card bills, receipts, or any other documentation that shows money or assets used for the affair can serve as evidence. It’s important to start this process as soon as you suspect financial misconduct, as gathering such evidence can be time-consuming.
While dealing with a cheating spouse and the misuse of marital assets can be overwhelming, understanding your legal rights is key to ensuring you are treated fairly during the divorce proceedings. Remember that every case is unique, and general advice may not perfectly apply to your situation.
Engaging an experienced family law attorney can help you navigate these difficult circumstances and advocate for your best interests. At Rose Sanders Family Law Firm, we are committed to providing comprehensive legal guidance tailored to your specific needs. Don’t navigate these waters alone, contact us today at 713-568-9242 to discuss your case.
Disclaimer: This blog is intended to provide general information and does not constitute legal advice. Consult with a professional attorney in your jurisdiction to understand how these laws apply to your individual circumstances.