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Are Bad Investments Considered Marital Waste?

Many people complain their spouse has “wasted” assets by making investments which prove to be bad or by making investments without their knowledge. In one recent case, the woman complained the husband had wasted money on a Hawaii house that fell upside down and a pizza business that went belly side up. Neither the trial court nor the appellate court regarded the failed investments as waste. Ward v. Ward, No. 2012–CA–01468–COA (2/4/14).

The law requires the judge to investigate each case on its merits given the so-called “Ferguson factors.” One would speculate that the woman in Ward would not have complained if the investments had worked out well, even though she didn’t know about them when they were initiated. For that reason, such investments will probably rarely be considered “waste.”