Divorce Cases Finding Dissipation of Marital Funds
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Ohio has twice held that the use of marital funds to pay temporary support is improper. In Modon v. Modon, 115 Ohio App. 3d 810, 686 N.E.2d 355 (1996), the husband withdrew funds from a marital property account during the pendency of the divorce action "to reimburse himself for spousal support that was being withheld from his social security and pension benefits." 115 Ohio App. 3d at 817, 686 N.E.2d at 359. The court held that the withdrawn funds were dissipated. Likewise, in Boes v. Boes, 1998 WL 317599 (Ohio Ct. App. 1998), the court held:
[I]n light of Richard’s admission that he used these funds to fulfill his temporary support obligations and he otherwise dissipated these assets, the court was well within its discretion to divide these funds as additional marital assets.
Id. at *3. Boes should not be discounted merely because it appears only on Westlaw; all Ohio Court of Appeals opinions, whether or not published in book form, have equal precedential value. Ohio Supreme Court Rule for Reporting Opinions 4(a).
A Missouri court reached a somewhat similar result in Jensen v. Jensen, 877 S.W.2d 131, 135 (Mo. Ct. App. 1994). There, the husband used marital funds to pay child support to both his prior wife and his paramour. In addition, he also used marital funds to pay temporary child support to the wife. The court held for understandable reasons that the use of marital funds to pay child support for nonmarital children was dissipation. In a single sentence, the court then held that the temporary child support paid to the wife was also dissipation. "The support provided for the children of the marriage similarly fulfilled an obligation of husband." Id. at 135. Given the Missouri cases cited above holding that temporary spousal support is a proper marital purpose, one is left with the suspicion that the result was based more upon judicial momentum than upon sound reasoning.
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