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Dissipation of Marital Assets in Kentucky Divorces

"Dissipation" is defined as "to waste", to "expend on useless or profitless activity", "to use or consume an asset thoughtlessly or carelessly".

If marital assets are dissipated by one party, the other party may be able to seek compensation for that loss.

Dissipation ("squandering") of marital assets with respect to one party's claim for maintenance is the only true exception to the "no fault" rule.

If a spouse installs a paramour in a new home, provides a girlfriend/boyfriend with a car, pays the girlfriend/boyfriend's bills, travels with him or her on vacations, etc., then the injured spouse can file an action against the other for dissipating the parties' marital assets.  In such a case, dissipation of marital assets by one party becomes a valid factor in setting the other party's entitlement to maintenance ("alimony").

If a spouse gambles or drinks away such assets or if a spouse spends marital assets in the pursuit of a drug addiction, the injured spouse can seek remedies through the Court for dissipation.

Giving away, discarding or destroying marital assets can also be considered dissipation.

See Glidewell v. Glidewell, 859 S.W.2d 675 (Ky.App. 1993), for an important discussion by the Kentucky Court of Appeals on this subject.

On January 19, 2018, the Kentucky Court of Appeals published a very interesting opinion in the matter of Duffy v. Duffy involving the husband intentionally dissipating a substantial marital asset by voluntarily terminating his very lucrative position just two months before his 224 Restricted Stock Units (RSU) vested.  The husband's UNVESTED restricted stock units has a potential pre-tax value of $143,886.  The court determined those RSUs were marital property and therefore subject to division.

The timing of husband's resignation was also mentioned in this decision, as it came about immediately after the trial court established his temporary maintenance and temporary child support obligations.  The appellate court also upheld the trial court's determination that husband's actions amounted to dissipation of marital assets.



Protecting marital assets from waste and dissipation is very important and could be a critical element in the successful resolution of your divorce case.  The attorneys at Hoge Partners, PLLC will be happy to discuss this subject with you.  Give us a call!