HomeBlogAlimony & Spousal SupportCan I Sue My Spouse for Theft?

Can I Sue My Spouse for Theft?

If you are going through a divorce, the division of your marital property is obviously a critical issue, and if you believe your spouse is dipping into your separate assets or spending down your marital assets while your divorce is pending, it’s an even bigger issue. If you’re concerned that your spouse may be helping themself to your separate assets or spending marital monies on things that outside of the marriage (such as an affair or gambling), you may wonder if you have the right to sue them for theft, and in this situation, turning to the professional legal counsel of an experienced Chicago divorce attorney is well advised.

Is the Asset Separate Property?

While you may think of certain assets as your separate property, this does not necessarily mean they belong to you alone. Anything that you and your spouse came to own during your marriage – regardless of who made the purchase, whose name is on it, or who uses the asset in question (including income) – is typically considered marital property that belongs to both of you. Some exceptions include the following:

  • Any gifts that either of you received in your name alone during your marriage that you kept separate.
  • Any inheritances that either of you received in your name alone during your marriage that you kept separate.

For example, this means that your car that you alone drive but that you purchased during your marriage is almost certainly marital property, which can be difficult to process.

Your Separate Assets

This does not mean, however, that you can’t also own separate or individual property. Anything that you owned prior to marriage, brought with you into your marriage, and kept separate throughout your marriage is typically considered your own separate property that your spouse has no right to avail themself of without your permission. One point that needs to be made here is that any increase in an asset’s value over the course of your marriage is likely a marital asset, any co-mingling or mixing of separate property with marital will likely convert it to be marital in nature. However, there are caveats that come to all circumstances that you will need to discuss with an experienced divorce lawyer. 

The Divorce Agreement

Theft by one’s spouse is often addressed during the divorce process, just under a different name – dissipation – which can lead directly to contempt of court or a claim of reimbursement to the harmed spouse. Signing a divorce agreement that includes a release of all claims arising over the course of the marriage, however, can negate your right to bring such a claim. In other words, working closely with a trusted Chicago divorce attorney is in your best interest. 

Common Claims

Some of the claims related to the general term of theft during marriage or divorce include the following:

  • Dissipation, which is based on having the actual property returned or reimbursed to the marital estate
  • Fraud, which is based on one’s spouse intentionally defrauding you of fair use and enjoyment of marital property   

Reach Out to an Experienced Chicago Divorce Attorney for the Help You Need

The accomplished Chicago divorce attorneys at WARD FAMILY LAW are well-positioned to skillfully advocate for your financial rights throughout the divorce process, and we have an impressive track record to back this claim up. To learn more, please don’t put off contacting us today. 



sd-lg1 sd-lg2 sd-lg3 sd-lg4

a Consultation


If you would like an attorney to contact you for a free consultation, please complete this form.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.