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Divorce, Dissipation Of Assets, Equitable Distribution, Misconduct, Findings Required

March 25, 2016 by  
Filed under Uncategorized

 

 

Where there has been a dissipation of marital assets in a divorce a court can include the dissipated assets in its equitable distribution scheme if there was intentional misconduct that lead to dissipation of the assets.

In Miller v. Miller, the Fourth District Court of Appeals for the State of Florida stated that while a court can include the dissipated assets in its equitable distribution scheme if there was intentional misconduct that lead to dissipation of the assets, here need to be specific findings made to support it.

“On that argument, we reverse the final judgment with directions for the court to determine whether the wife engaged in such intentional misconduct. As our sister court stated in
Roth v. Roth, 973 So. 2d 580 (Fla. 2d DCA 2008):
As a general proposition, it is error to include assets in an equitable distribution scheme that have been diminished or dissipated during the dissolution proceedings. However, an exception to this general proposition exists when misconduct during the dissolution proceedings results in the dissipation of a marital asset.  In that case, the misconduct may serve as a basis for assigning the dissipated asset to the spending spouse when calculating equitable distribution.
When considering whether the dissipation of an asset resulted from misconduct, the question for the trial court is whether one spouse used marital funds for his or her own benefit and for a purpose unrelated to the marriage at a time when the marriage is undergoing an irreconcilable breakdown. The misconduct necessary to support inclusion of dissipated assets in an equitable distribution scheme does not include mismanagement or simple squandering of marital assets in a manner of which the other spouse disapproves. Instead, to include a dissipated asset in the equitable distribution scheme, there must be evidence of the spending spouse’s intentional dissipation or destruction of the asset, and the trial court must make a specific finding that the dissipation resulted from intentional misconduct. Id. at 584-85(emphasis added;internal citations, quotation marks, and brackets omitted)”

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