This is the next post in my series discussing how the gambling habits of one or both spouses can impact a Las Vegas divorce. My last post explained how the Court will view the difference between gambling for entertainment purposes and gambling that significantly impacts community assets. In this post I will further explain how debts and winnings are divided during the divorce process.
As my last post explained, the Court does not worry about spouses who gamble for entertainment, meaning gambling that has no serious impact on their overall wealth. However, in Las Vegas it is not unusual for one or both spouses to have a gambling habit that has led to a depletion of assets. In many cases gambling or financial stress is a contributing factor to the divorce. Therefore, the Courts and local family law attorneys have a great deal of experience in sorting through gambling debts.
In the case of high gambling debts there are equal number of cases where the non-gambling spouse was unaware of the other spouse’s increasing debts or was aware but not capable of persuading their spouse to change their behavior. In many cases a Judge will hold the gambling spouse solely responsible for their own gambling debt, particularly if they have wasted community assets in the process of their gambling. In addition, if any community assets remain, the non-gambling spouse may be able to argue that they should retain more than 50% of any remaining property because the other spouse has spent what was a community asset. In some cases a gambling spouse may be able to argue that gambling debts should be shared if the other spouse was aware and supported the gambling habit. This is only likely to happen in certain circumstances, such as, both spouses gamble heavily or together.
The discovery process is an important step in divorces with a spouse who gambles heavily. During discovery, an attorney can subpoena records from any and all casinos that one’s spouse has a player’s card at and clearly track the spouse’s winnings and losings. In some cases a spouse may have attempted to hide both debts and any earnings; during discovery a skilled attorney can follow the money and track down any earnings that a spouse has attempted to hide. While gambling debts are typically one sided and awarded to the gambling, all earnings are considered community property and split 50-50. This is why many gambling spouses attempt to hide any earnings from the Court, and shows the importance of a thorough discovery.
Contact a Las Vegas divorce attorney today if you have questions.