What is Economic Misconduct?

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Though each state has its own laws regarding divorce, and specifically asset division, the general rule of thumb is that everything will be divided between both parties (including debts). But what do you do if your partner starts purposefully spending beyond their means or tries to hide certain assets?

Economic Misconduct in North Carolina

Economic misconduct is a subcategory of marital misconduct and is typically described as one spouse purposely causing financial harm to the other.

North Carolina is an equitable distribution state, meaning property is divided in a way that’s fair to each spouse, not necessarily a perfect 50/50 split. That being said, the courts have a lot of discretion when it comes to asset division.

Is Economic Misconduct Illegal?

There are cases in which certain types of economic misconduct are illegal, such as dissipation and the hiding of assets. However, just because other acts of misconduct aren’t necessarily illegal, you could still face significant penalties.

Some of the most common examples of economic misconduct during a divorce are:

  • Dissipation of assets. When one spouse uses marital assets for their own benefit, all while knowing the marriage is undergoing an irretrievable breakdown and likely heading towards divorce.
  • Hiding assets.
  • Destruction of marital property.
  • Excessive expenditures, also known as excessive spending that is out of the ordinary.
  • Spending funds on illegal activities.
  • Spending funds on an affair partner.

Though economic misconduct is rarely punished with jail time, the penalties can still be extreme. For example, if the courts discover that you are guilty of dissipation of marital assets, they will likely award your spouse significantly more during property division. If one spouse’s excessive spending is believed to have negatively affected the couple’s children, that spouse may be ordered to pay more in child support.

At Blood Law, PLLC, we believe in helping our clients achieve their goals – no matter how complex their divorce or other family law issue. Our experienced attorneys provide tailored legal services with a unique, team-based approach to do our best to achieve these results.

To learn more about our legal services, contact our Charlotte divorce lawyers online or give us a call at (704) 286-0570.