How to Respond to a Notice of Dissipation in Illinois for a Divorce

By Lisa S. Kramer

In Illinois, "dissipation" occurs when one spouse uses marital property solely for his benefit while the marriage is breaking down. Common examples of dissipation include gambling, making high-risk investments, running up credit card debt, and incurring extraordinary and undocumented expenses. Dissipation may also occur when a spouse’s failure to make mortgage or tax payments leads to the foreclosure or threat of foreclosure on the marital home or when a spouse purposely allows for the devaluation of a marital business. When one spouse files a Notice of Dissipation with the court, the accused spouse must file a response with the court.

In Illinois, "dissipation" occurs when one spouse uses marital property solely for his benefit while the marriage is breaking down. Common examples of dissipation include gambling, making high-risk investments, running up credit card debt, and incurring extraordinary and undocumented expenses. Dissipation may also occur when a spouse’s failure to make mortgage or tax payments leads to the foreclosure or threat of foreclosure on the marital home or when a spouse purposely allows for the devaluation of a marital business. When one spouse files a Notice of Dissipation with the court, the accused spouse must file a response with the court.

Step 1

Review the Notice of Dissipation, paying special attention to which of your expenditures your spouse claims as dissipation.

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Step 2

Document and account for every dollar you are accused of dissipating. It is likely that you will have to provide such documentation to your spouse or her attorney. ยท

Step 3

Write a response to the Notice of Dissipation and file it with the court. In your response, you can either concede or deny that some or all of the expenditures in question constitute dissipation. If you deny the allegations of dissipation, it is your responsibility to prove by clear and convincing evidence that there was no dissipation. Where appropriate, provide evidence that may prove your alleged dissipation of assets occurred prior to the irreconcilable breakdown of the marriage; prove that your spouse agreed to your spending of marital assets; show that your alleged dissipation of assets consisted of reasonable expenditures; prove that your conduct was not purposeful or intentional; or show that the allegedly dissipated assets were non-marital assets.

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