What Is Marital Waste In Florida Divorces?

by Robin Roshkind, Esquire, West Palm Beach, Florida

My clients often ask me why something that happened 20 or 30 years ago in their marriage matters in today’s divorce court.   The reason is the divorce court judge in Palm Beach County cases can look back to see if there was any marital waste.  What exactly does that mean and why is it significant.

It can mean the following:  marital funds spent on a gambling habit; drugs; alcoholism; prostitutes; mistresses; extended family members; relatives overseas.  Marital waste is anything that marital monies are spent on that does not further the marital purpose. 

Some might consider marital waste as a dissipation of marital assets.  But dissipation can also encompass bad investments, or other waste of marital funds done in good faith in trying to maintain the marriage.  Selling a marital asset to pay marital bills is dissipation, but it is in furtherance of the marriage.  That is the nuance difference between the two concepts. 

The reason that dissipation of marital assets and marital waste are both important, is because the judge has to divide marital assets and debts between the husband and the wife.  It is not always a 50/50 split.  For example, if one spouse financed a gambling problem over the last 30 years, today in divorce court, that spouse is going to pay by getting less than his/her half of the marital assets.  Of course, marital waste or dissipation of marital assets has to be proven.  For more information about this or other divorce topics, call one of the divorce lawyers at ROBIN ROSHKIND, P.A. at 561 835 9091 or click on the Firm’s web site at http://www.familylawwpb.com for more information.


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