Do I Have to Pay My Spouse’s Excessive or Abnormal Expenditures?

It is a pretty common question to ask, whether or not you have to pay for your spouse’s expenses that were not for the benefit of the marital community.

This is also known as “community waste”. 

The basis for a claim is defined as, “excessive or abnormal expenditures, destruction, concealment or fraudulent disposition of community, joint tenancy, and other property held in common”.

Some of the factors the Court will consider when deciding if both spouses must pay for these expenses are as follows:

  1. Knowledge – Did the other party have any knowledge these expenditures were being made?
  2. Consent – Is consent by the spouse needed?
  3. Types of Expenditures – This addresses the difference between supporting the family and spending money on things like gambling and drugs (by only one spouse).
  4. Timing of Expenditures – Did these “abnormal expenses” begin to occur at the breakdown of the marriage? Or has it been going on throughout the entire marriage?
  5. Purpose of Expenses – Were the expenses for the benefit of the marital community or just one spouse?
  6. Concealment – Was the spouse incurring the debt hiding the expenses?
  7. Intent – Was the spouse trying to or actually defrauding the marital community?
  8. Impact on the Community – How did these expenditures negatively impact the other spouse and/or family?

The spouse who wants to allege that there has been excessive spending or community waste has the burden to prove his/her claim.

If you find yourself or a loved one facing a divorce and in need of a lawyer for a family law matter, please call OWENS & PERKINS at 480.994.8824 to schedule your free 30 minute consultation.