A spouse’s gambling habit can be financially and emotionally devastating to a marriage. During a divorce, however, a non-gambling spouse must take steps to protect themselves to assure that they receive a fair share of their marital assets.
Signs of gambling addiction include an inability to quit or limit gambling, placing exceedingly larger bets, having an urge to keep gambling after losing and lying to hide the extent of the gambling problem.
Wasteful spending of assets
In addition to the stress it causes to relationships, excessive gambling can deplete bank accounts and wastes other assets. Under a wasteful disposition of assets argument, spouses may try to request an unequal division of their marital estate if their spouse misused marital funds during their marriage.
Legal discovery and depositions may be necessary to determine the money that was wasted through gambling. Attorneys have issued subpoenas to casinos and other gambling venues for information.
If the money is accounted for, it should be placed back into the marital assets which should be treated as it still existed. Then these assets can be equitably divided.
Spouses who plan to divorce their gambling spouse should begin to collect documents immediately so that you they can prove the amount of money that their spouse wasted through gambling.
Items include family expenses, bank account statements as far back as the spouse had a gambling addiction, credit card balances and statements for the time the spouse was addicted to gambling, mortgage and other credit line statements containing interest rates and outstanding balances, property deeds for real estate and vehicles, employment pay stubs, tax returns and prenuptial and postnuptial agreements.
Insurance policy information is also important and needs to include declaration pages for life health, disability, and long-term care. Retirement and investment accounts are typically major assets so spouses should collect statements showing account values, holdings, cost basis and account titles.
A spouse should organize their finances and become financially independent. Non-gambling spouses should also separate their assets and take measures such as opening a bank account at a different bank and depositing their paycheck into this separate account.
An attorney can help locate financial documents and other information and uncover gambling debt. Lawyers can also protect your interests during property division.