In the Matter of Martell and Martell, the New Hampshire Supreme Court reviewed the trial court’s award to the wife of more than 50% of the marital assets due to the husband’s risky stock investments. During the marriage, the husband lost over $1 Million in high-risk stock investments, thereby diminishing the value of the marital estate. Upon divorce, the trial court awarded the wife a larger share of the marital assets to account for the money lost by the husband.
On appeal, the New Hampshire Supreme Court determined that the wife need only prove that the husband diminished the marital assets. The Court stated that the wife did not need to establish that the husband intentionally lost the assets in order to deprive her of the funds. In essence, the husband’s actions in this matter were similar to a spouse who gambles at a casino or online gaming. The fact that the husband did not maliciously intend to deprive the wife of the marital assets was irrelevant as the failure to preserve marital assets is a factor the court may consider in dividing the marital estate upon divorce.
If you have any questions regarding the division of marital assets upon divorce, please contact an attorney at Hamblett & Kerrigan.
Kevin P. Rauseo is a former director at Hamblett & Kerrigan P.A. and has since been appointed as a Justice for the New Hampshire Circuit Court. Please feel free to contact another attorney at Hamblett & Kerrigan to discuss your legal issues.