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A Gambling Problem Can Affect Property Division

Financial problems represent some of the most common reasons why couples get divorced. The tension can become exacerbated financial issues are due to one spouse’s gambling habits. In some cases, those gambling habits could even affect the property division process in a divorce.

In a typical divorce case, if the two parties cannot come to their own agreement for dividing their property and assets, the judge will do so in a fair, equitable manner based on a variety of factors. These include the length of the marriage, each party’s income and who will have primary custody of any children.

Accounting for a spouse’s gambling

The presence of a gambling issue can significantly change the way a judge operates during the property division process. Judges can consider misbehavior that affects the marital estate financially. Loss of marital funds due to one spouse gambling can affect the judge’s decision-making process.

For example, if a spouse has a gambling problem to the extent that it significantly reduces the marital estate, the court may act to compensate the spouse who was harmed by the gambling spouse’s habits. The non-gambling spouse may also be awarded a greater percentage of the estate.

However, it’s not always this clear cut. If, for example, the non-gambling spouse knew about the gambling problem, but condoned the gambling in some fashion, the court may not be willing to provide this extra compensation.

Ultimately, these issues are decided on a case-by-case basis, and so it is important that you have an attorney you can trust to advocate for your best interests. For further guidance, speak with an experienced Minnesota divorce lawyer with Appelhof, Pfeifer & Hart, P.A.

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