Reply To: Gambling losses

    Mark Keenan

    In divorce proceedings, the court considers the financial resources and conduct of both parties when deciding on a financial settlement. Gambling losses can potentially be a factor in the settlement, but the impact they have will depend on the specific circumstances of the case.

    Here’s how gambling losses might be considered:

    1. If one party has gambled away a substantial amount of the marital assets, the court may consider this as ‘dissipation of assets’ or ‘financial misconduct’. If it is clear that the gambling was reckless and resulted in a significant reduction of the marital pot, the court may decide to award a larger share of the remaining assets to the non-gambling spouse.
    2. The timing of the gambling losses can be relevant. If the losses occurred long before the separation or divorce proceedings, they might be less likely to be considered by the court. However, if the losses are recent and appear to be an attempt to reduce the assets available for division, the court may take them more seriously.
    3. The court will look at whether the gambling was an occasional activity or a consistent pattern that affected the couple’s financial stability. The extent of the losses concerning the overall marital assets will also be a factor.
    4. Intent: If the court believes that the gambling was done with the intent to reduce the assets available for the settlement, this could influence the court’s decision. Conversely, if gambling is seen as an addiction or illness, the court may be more sympathetic, although this does not guarantee that the losses will be ‘reimbursed’ by a larger settlement.
    5. Needs and Welfare of Children: The primary concern of the court is the welfare of any children involved. The impact of gambling losses on the children’s living standards and future needs will be a significant consideration.
    6. Full and frank disclosure of financial circumstances, including gambling losses, is required in divorce proceedings. If a party tries to hide or lie about gambling losses, this dishonesty could negatively impact their case.
    7. Overall Fairness: The court’s ultimate goal is to reach a settlement that is fair to both parties, considering their conduct, needs, and contributions to the marriage. The court has wide discretion in achieving what it considers to be a fair outcome.

    It’s important to note that financial settlements are complex and the court’s approach to gambling losses—as with any marital conduct—will vary from case to case