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Can I Stop My Spouse From Spending All Our Money Before the Divorce is Finalized? 

Posted on in Divorce

Naperville divorce lawyerDuring a marriage, each spouse’s money usually becomes inextricably connected with the other spouse’s. Research shows that most spouses combine their incomes, at least to some extent. Because money earned by either spouse during a marriage is considered marital property, the line between what is “yours” and “mine” can become blurred or nonexistent. 

However, this does not mean that spouses should be able to run roughshod over each other’s financial preferences and needs. Wasting money on gambling, drugs, or a shopping addiction can severely harm a family’s present and future financial health, and threaten to drive a couple to seek an Illinois divorce. And if a couple does decide to get a divorce, the process of dividing assets can become even more complicated when one spouse is wasting, or threatening to waste, marital assets. 

Temporary Financial Restraining Orders

If there is a concern that your spouse will continue to spend money irresponsibly or uncontrollably during your divorce, you will likely want to take swift action. In Illinois, this is usually done with a temporary financial restraining order, or a TRO. A TRO is a court order that prohibits spouses from wasting marital property while a divorce is ongoing. While a TRO cannot prevent a spouse from buying groceries, even from a store that may seem like an overly expensive location to the other spouse, it can do the following: 

  • Prohibit a spouse from selling or transferring property, whether as a gift, a temporary measure, or a legitimate sale (this prohibition includes giving property to family members or charitable organization)  

  • Closing accounts or draining accounts of all funds and transferring funds somewhere else

  • Hiding, attempting to conceal, or failing to disclose assets

  • Wasting assets by spending money on a new partner, expensive hobbies, or any other purpose not related to the marriage or intended to deprive one partner of marital income

TROs are typically only granted when there is a clear danger of assets being wasted, if minor children would be negatively affected, or if there are no other means of protecting marital assets. Violating a TRO can cause a spouse to be held in contempt of court and even to lose the wasted share of marital property when the assets are divided. 

Get in Touch with a Will County Divorce Lawyer

The Bolingbrook, IL divorce attorneys with the Law Office of Ronald L. Hendrix, P.C. can help you with every step of your divorce, including applying for a financial restraining order if necessary. To learn more about financial restraining orders and other remedies that may be available to you if your spouse is wasting marital assets, call our offices at 630-355-7776 and schedule a free, confidential consultation. 




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