Although Depletion and Dissipation of property carry different meanings, in Minnesota divorce cases the terms are sometimes used synonymously by the Court. Dissipation is defined by Minnesota case law as “wasting or expending funds foolishly.” Volesky v. Volesky, 412 N.W.2d 750 (Minn. Ct. App. 1987). Spouses have a fiduciary duty to one another during marriage. A Judge can make line item adjustments to the balance sheet and to the marital property division if a spouse has been found to have dissipated or depleted assets during a divorce. The issue of Dissipation and Depletion can also apply to the marital standard of living (especially if a spouse starts to spend excessively during the time leading up to a dissolution action, or just prior to commencement, in the hopes of creating an artificially high marital standard of living). Proper financial due diligence will provide the necessary data to either support or discredit such a claim during a divorce. Having an extramarital relationship, absent additional data, does not establish depletion of assets. Data doesn’t lie, but people sometimes do.
The Discovery Process Is Used To Obtain Financial Data
During a divorce, informal discovery is most commonly used to obtain financial information from a party. In some cases, we use formal discovery and depositions (if necessary) to obtain the required information. From a Return on Investment (ROI) standpoint, we prefer informal discovery, unless it appears that a party is attempting to conceal, misstate, withhold or fabricate data or information.
Present Value Calculations in Divorce
During a Minnesota divorce, every asset on the marital balance sheet should be assigned a present value (including Real Estate, Retirement Accounts such as a 401K, 403B or 457 Plan, Brokerage and Bank Accounts, Investments, Pensions, Automobiles, Businesses, Partnerships, Intellectual Property, Antiques, Collectibles and other Assets). In some case, the asset value is merely speculative, which can present additional concerns when dividing property. In some divorce cases, an neutral expert (such as a CPA or ASA) may be used pursuant to a 706 Order to provide a neutral valuation for an asset or assets. A party can also retain their own expert to run calculations and financial scheudules as well.
We Practice Exclusively in Divorce and Family Law
Located in the historic Linden Hills neighborhood of Minneapolis, Lake Harriet Law Office Attorneys Randall A. Smith and Amber C. Bretl provide outstanding legal representation exclusively in the areas of Divorce and Family Law. We represent clients throughout the Twin Cities. We are a numbers and data savvy law firm.
Please call 612-750-4843 or complete the Contact Us form to schedule an office consultation.
Randall A. Smith – Managing Attorney 612-750-4843
Jessica Dulz – Lead Student Attorney 612-223-8925
Aubry Fritsch – Student Attorney 612-223-8925
Addy Scriver – Student Attorney 612-223-8925