Could gambling affect the division of assets in your divorce?

Marriage is one of the biggest, most significant risks you can take. If you win, your prize of security and companionship could bring you more happiness than anything else in your life. Isn’t that worth a gamble?

If you’re like 61.24 million Americans in 2018, you placed your bets on the odds that marriage would work for you. But it isn’t all random. You took steps to make your marriage work. You tried to choose the right person. You took care of your finances. Unfortunately, sometimes caution alone isn’t enough.

If gambling contributed to the breakdown of your marriage, it could complicate your divorce.

What if you strongly objected to their gambling?

Maybe gambling is a medically certified addiction. Maybe it was occasional but unacceptable high-stakes online gambling. Maybe it was illegal gambling that brought dangerous situations into your life.

Regardless of the unique situation, if you objected time and again to their gambling, it will be important to bring examples of that to your divorce lawyer. They will want to know if any of the following are relevant:

  • Testimony from friends, neighbors, or your family.
  • Recommended psychological therapy.
  • In-patient rehabilitation center treatments.
  • Family or faith-centered intervention.
  • Emails, texts, or letters from you.
  • Mail from their creditors.
  • Complaints from work about workplace performance.
  • Any medical bills, automotive repairs or arrest records from incidents related to their gambling.

These will help to show that you took an active role as a spouse in recognizing the problem and in attempting a potential solution. It can also show how their gambling negatively affected your life and possibly that of your children.

How does gambling affect the equitable division of property?

Normally, in a divorce in the state of New York, debts and property are divided equitably, not necessarily equally. However, if one spouse significantly contributed to the couple’s debts, especially if it was through illegal forms of gambling, and you objected to it, a judge will take this into account.

While the gambler may not face criminal punishment in front of a family court, their punishment may be a lesser award of divided assets. This might not be ultimate closure, but hopefully, it will help you start the next phase of your life.