I am considering divorcing my husband of 16 years but I am nervous as to how things will shake out financially if I choose to do so. Approximately 8 years ago he invested $200K of my inheritance in a Ponzi scheme and lost it all. I was very upset but he repeatedly promised me that in the event we ever got divorced I would get our vacation home in Salmon, Idaho. This was supposed to pay me back for the inheritance money he took from me. We never put this agreement in writing though and now I’m worried that he is going to back out of it. If we get a divorce will the Judge hold him to this agreement?
Any agreement entered between spouses after marriage is a postnuptial agreement. In order to be an enforceable postnuptial agreement it must be in writing and notarized. So, unfortunately, your husband’s verbal promise that you be awarded the vacation home in Idaho is not an enforceable contract unless it is in writing.
You may, however, have a claim for financial waste. In asserting this claim you must show how your husband wasted your separate property funds by the improper investment, which did not benefit you or your marriage, and in fact, did harm to the marital estate.
You will need to be able to show that you had no prior knowledge of the investment and that your husband took steps to conceal it from you. You will also have to present documentary evidence of the wasted funds. If you do choose to divorce, make sure that you have the necessary documentation to prove this claim in your possession at the time of separation.
The family court in Reno has wide discretion in making findings of community waste, but if you are successful in this claim, you could be compensated for the Ponzi scheme loss from your husband’s portion of the estate. The Court could also choose to reimburse you by awarding you a disproportionate amount of the community property, which could include the vacation home you are seeking. I have also seen increased alimony in Nevada in cases where the community property estate is not large enough to justify a disproportionate share of community property to one spouse.
Community waste claims are often difficult to prove, but experienced divorce attorneys can assist. If you require additional assistance, please call our Reno law office at (775) 823-0049. Our Reno family law attorneys have been practicing law for the last 16 years and are ready to help with all of your family law needs.
Jessica H. Anderson
Divorce Attorney Reno NV