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Can your angry spouse give away or sell your possessions?

On Behalf of | Sep 2, 2022 | Divorce

People who feel hurt or rejected will often lash out at the individual who inspired those negative emotions. Even someone who is usually calm and rational will have a breaking point where they will become enraged and reactive.

For someone on the cusp of divorce, their spouse is likely the source of their intense negative feelings and may be the focal point of any misconduct that occurs during the divorce. Some people become verbally abusive or physically violent. Others turn their anger towards property. Your ex’s desire to punish or hurt you could put you at an unfair financial disadvantage.

You might come home one day to discover that your spouse has held a garage sale and sold off your entire collection of vintage records or that they sold your triathlon bike online for $50. They may even have donated most of your personal property or your wardrobe to a charitable organization. What rights do you have in that situation?

You can document the financial misconduct

California’s community property laws technically give each of you the right to use or dispose of marital properties you see fit. However, intentional dissipation or wasteful spending of marital assets is not an acceptable practice. If you can prove that your spouse wasted or destroyed community property, you can hold them accountable in court.

You will need records of what your spouse gave away or sold and an approximate value for those belongings. Those records can help you hold them accountable in court or during property division negotiations. A judge would likely reduce how much of the marital they allocate based on the dissipation of your shared property, and your spouse may agree to certain concessions in mediation based on the records of their bad behavior.

Angry people often leave plenty of evidence

People sometimes go viral on social media for advertising cheating husband garage sales or posting pictures of them burning someone’s entire wardrobe on the front lawn. Your spouse may also have sent you direct messages advising you of what was about to occur when it was too late for you to stop them.

Any proof that you have that your spouse intentionally destroyed, undervalued or gave away your property can help you push for the courts to address that misconduct in their final property division ruling. Gathering the right records will make it easier for you to fight back against misconduct in your California divorce.