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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, the Court may find the property is "dissipated."
If the Court finds dissipation, it can consider 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 expended for other than a family purpose with the intention of reducing the funds available for equitable distribution (e.g. payment of living expenses for someone other than your spouse or children). The burden then shifts to the spouse who spent the money to show the expenditures were appropriate.
Maryland law requires equitable distribution of property in a divorce. The court determines a fair award of property and debt. Unless the couple can reach a settlement, the court divides the marital property, pension, retirement, profit sharing or deferred-compensation plans. The court considers contributions of each party, the well being of the family, the property value, the economic circumstances of each spouse as well as current situations such as age, mental state, the duration of the marriage, and the interest each party has in the property.
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