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When a spouse tries to dissipate assets

While some Massachusetts divorce cases are amicable with both spouses working towards a fair settlement, others are marked by spite and greed. In some situations, one party will try to dissipate or waste the marital assets simply to try to prevent the other spouse from getting a fair share.

High-earning people may dissipate assets out of spite, knowing that they will be able to re-earn the amount after the divorce is over. This may leave the other parties in a very bad position, especially if they have stayed home in order to support the high-earning spouse's career and to raise children. The dissipation of assets might leave lower-earning spouses without the means to support themselves following the divorce.

When a divorce petition is filed in Massachusetts, the court issues an automatic restraining order that prevents both parties from selling, transferring, hiding, disposing of or removing property. They are also both enjoined from running up debts in their spouse's names and changing life and health insurance beneficiaries until the divorce is final. People may still need to get the help of a forensic accountant in very complex cases when a party suspects the other one is dissipating or hiding assets despite the court's order.

People who are facing the end of a marriage and who suspect that this type of dissipation could be an issue may want to meet with their family law attorneys as soon as possible so that the issue can be appropriately addressed. As a great deal of financial damage could be done before the restraining order is issued, acting promptly could be advisable.

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