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Community Waste in Divorce: Are You Owed Money?

Navigating divorce can feel like a maze. One term you might stumble upon is “community waste.” Sound confusing? Let’s dive in, make it clear, and help you discover if your spouse owes you.

Understanding Community Waste

In divorce terms, community waste alleges that your spouse splurged the shared funds on things, people, or experiences that didn’t benefit the marriage. Here’s what it looks like:

  • Husbandly Affairs? If your hubby treated himself to, ahem, extramarital “services” and used joint money, that’s community waste. Show the numbers, and you’re in line to recover half of what he spent.
  • Gambling Woes? Was your wife secretly draining funds at the casino? If you were in the dark or didn’t realize the gambling’s gravity, you could claim community waste. Beware, though: if you knew or joined in, it’s deemed “recreational cost,” not waste.
  • Romantic Getaways with Someone Else? If your spouse’s affair involved luxury trips or pricey gifts, you’ve got a claim. Your job? Detail those expenses.
  • Suspicious ATM Withdrawals? Notice heavy ATM action while daily buys (like food and fuel) came from cards? Sounds like waste.
  • Business Tanking On Purpose? Sounds strange, but some spouses intentionally underperform in shared businesses during divorce. An experienced eye can help prove this deliberate community waste.

Making Your Case

To claim waste, you’ve got to establish a solid case showing “excessive or abnormal expenditures.” This means evidence. Once presented, the ball’s in your spouse’s court to defend their actions.

Bear in mind, the trial court decides what’s “abnormal.” And interestingly, per A.R.S. § 25-318(A), dishonest intent isn’t required – it’s about whether the money benefitted the marriage.

Possible Outcomes

Successful waste claims usually see one partner reimbursed for half the misused funds. Other possible perks? More spousal support or longer durations. In some cases, the spending spouse might bear most of the debt, letting the other walk away debt-free.

But it’s not always rosy. Courts might acknowledge waste but offer no financial relief. In such sticky situations, it might be better to angle for spousal support or an escape from shared debts.

Act Fast and Get Expert Help

Community waste isn’t a walk in the park. It demands evidence and precision, and once your divorce wraps up, you can’t revisit or modify property division, including waste claims.

Don’t tackle this beast alone. For reliable advice tailored to your situation, you want an expert. And remember, we’re just a click away.

Think your divorce involves community waste? We’re here to guide you through the intricacies. Reach out for a consultation with our seasoned attorneys.


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