Your Marital Estate: It is what it is

Posted on Tuesday, December 13th, 2016 by Marc Beyer and is filed under Divorce,  Finances,  Marriage.

Many divorcing couples identify financial issues as the underlying root of their marital discord. They can’t agree on what to do with their money. (It can be a good problem to have because many couples are fighting about how to divide their debts – not their money – when they get divorced). One spouse is more of a saver and the other spouse is more of a spender. If a bonus check comes in, one spouse would like to save it for retirement or for a rainy day while the other spouse prefers to go on vacation.

If this describes your situation, it is important to understand what arguments you can and can’t make during divorce. Many of my clients will tell me that they disagreed with how their spouse spent money during their marriage. Their spouse may have gone to the spa too many times, or ate out too often, or racked up too big of a credit card bill. Of course, my client feels that they should not be responsible for the irresponsible spending of their spouse during the marriage. They want to somehow be compensated for this in the final settlement.

This argument will rarely get you anywhere. The law views your marriage as a team. What one spouse did, the marriage did. What one spouse spent, the marriage spent. The fact that you disagree with something your teammate did after-the- fact is inconsequential. We do not get to go back in time and recreate marital spending, or pretend that money was spent differently than how it really was. If your spouse had a gym membership for ten years that they never used, the Court is not going to compensate you for that at divorce.

The only real exception to this is if one spouse dissipates the marital estate either during the divorce proceedings or in contemplation of a divorce starting. But in that scenario, you and your spouse are no longer really on the same team anymore. When you are on the same team, it can be said that your spouse’s spending happens on your watch. You are either not paying close enough attention, or even if you are, you are tacitly accepting of their spending when you stay married to them.

Many spouses, then, choose to get divorced in order to “stop the bleeding.” After divorce, you will no longer be responsible for your spouse’s spending. Just understand that you have a very limited ability to argue that you should be compensated for your spouse’s spendthrift ways during the marriage.

Meet Marc Beyer

Interested in reading more?


Contact Beyer & Simonson in Edina, Minnesota

If you are facing divorce and any of the divorce-related issues such as spousal maintenance, child support, child custody, property division, or domestic abuse matters, you need our experienced Minneapolis divorce attorneys to help you. Contact Beyer & Simonson in Edina, Minnesota today at (952) 303-6007.