Myth: My spouse’s marital misconduct or bad behavior will help me in my marital case.
If a husband has a girlfriend, or a wife spends money without any budget or regard for their finances, are those factors things that a court would consider in the division of property? Generally not. Our statute very specifically says marital misconduct is not to be considered in either the division property, the setting of support, the setting of child support, or, indeed, in most custody determinations. The exception to that general rule is dissipation. Dissipation is defined as the expenditure of funds for a purpose not related to the marriage at a time when the marriage is undergoing an irretrievable breakdown. A simple example is gambling. If one spouse gambles, and loses money, the court can consider the loss a dissipation and add the amount dissipated to that party’s balance sheet as though it still existed.