Divorce proceedings often bring out the absolute worst in people. Individuals who are typically accepting and forgiving might become intensely critical toward their spouse during the divorce process. Those who are often calm and rational may let their emotions influence their behavior, leading to uncharacteristically aggressive conduct.
Couples planning a divorce at the end of a long marriage or when they share significant resources with one another have many more opportunities to mistreat one another and subvert the process with consciously or subconsciously malicious intentions. Although Wisconsin courts aim for a fair division of marital property, the outcome of some divorces is far from equitable due to the behavior of a particular spouse.
Misconduct can occur in any divorce, but those with higher income during their marriage – and therefore higher levels of assets overall – may need to be particularly concerned about the risk of the following two kinds of marital misconduct.
Hiding or not disclosing valuable property
Someone who is upset about their upcoming divorce may also resent the obligation to share their property equitably with their spouse. Whether they resent the uneven contributions the spouses made to the household bank account or the misconduct of their spouse during the marriage, they made view withholding certain resources as a way of winning or punishing their spouse.
Some people will move physical property out of the marital home or divert funds into a hidden bank account. Others will fail to include items on their inventory of assets or will intentionally underreport the value of their property. When one spouse hides or lies about the value of assets, the other cannot demand their fair share of marital property.
Dissipating marital assets
Someone angry about a divorce and unwilling to share with their spouse might try to empty bank accounts or accrue large amounts of debt to reduce what the other spouse receives in the divorce.
Destroying, giving away or selling property for fraction of its actual value are also all examples of dissipation. Those who can show intentional dissipation of marital assets or hidden assets may be able to convince the courts to factor those forms of financial misconduct into the final property division decisions for the family.
Recognizing and proactively monitoring for the warning signs of financial misconduct can help those who are preparing for a high-asset divorce in Wisconsin. Seeking experienced legal guidance can be tremendously helpful as well.