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Dissipation can lead to unfair property division outcomes

For many Pennsylvania residents, the sheer volume of tasks that must be accomplished during the course of a divorce can feel overwhelming. That can be especially true in cases where one spouse allowed his or her partner to handle the bulk of family finances. Failure to understand the full scope of marital assets makes it impossible to negotiate a fair and favorable division of wealth during the property division process.

Another matter that can lead to an unfair division of marital wealth is when one party has acted to intentionally deplete the financial resources of the family. Some spouses will go to great lengths to try and hide or otherwise shield assets from the property division process. Without a carefully trained eye reviewing all financial documentation, these efforts could be successful.

The process of diverting wealth outside of a marriage is known as dissipation. It can take place in a number of ways, ranging from simply spending money to support an extramarital affair to complicated business transactions dating back for many years. Some spouses even "loan" large amounts of money to friends or extended family members in an effort to remove funds from marital accounts.

One way to protect against dissipation of marital assets is to hire the services of a forensic accountant. These skilled professionals can review all financial documentation pertaining to a divorce. Any discrepancies or misrepresentations are noted, and documentation compiled. That provides the wronged spouse with the property division information necessary to make an argument in a Pennsylvania court of law that he or she is entitled to a greater share of marital assets due to the actions of his or her soon-to-be ex.

Source:, "Divorce: The 'dark side' of financial planning", Maddy Perkins, Oct. 3, 2017

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