When a marriage ends and New Jersey residents are unable to come to an amicable settlement, the proceedings can get quite contentious. One of the most fought over issues in a divorce is dividing the marital property. There are many things that one of the parties can do to exacerbate the circumstances, and dissipating the marital assets is one of them.

Spending money and otherwise disposing of marital assets so that they cannot be divided is the hallmark of dissipation. This is often done in order to keep the other spouse from receiving his or her share of them. In order to combat this, an Automatic Temporary Restraining Order (ATRO) can be filed. This document prohibits either party from making changes to the marital financial situation during the proceedings.

Even if an ATRO is in place, that does not necessarily mean that it will be followed. It would be a good idea to keep track of bank accounts, credit card statements and other financial and property documentation in an attempt to identify if assets are being squandered. It might be necessary to bring in a forensic accountant in order to determine whether the marital estate is intact.

Going through a divorce is never easy, but when one of the parties is attempting to sabotage the settlement and jeopardize the future of the other spouse, it can be much more of a challenge. It could require the help of an attorney, other advisors and the court to receive an equitable share of the martial assets. New Jersey residents who find themselves in this situation would benefit from talking to an attorney as quickly as possible.

Source: Forbes, “What is dissipation of assets in divorce and what, if anything, can you do about it?“, Jeff Landers, Nov. 1, 2016