Divorce lawyer Morris Green answered his phone on the second ring as was his custom.
“Morris!,” said the angry voice on the other end, “This is Ivana Copernica. I’m calling you about your client, Stanton Fields. Did you know that he has taken $10,000 out of his pension plan?”
“Yes, I did know,” Green replied calmly.
“He can’t do that.”
“Because it’s marital property and my client did not agree,” said Ivana.
“I don’t think that your client’s consent is required. Marital funds are expended by one party or the other in almost every divorce. Unless they have separate property, that’s how they pay their living expenses.”
“What did he spend $10,000 on?” inquired Ivana.
“Why, his legal fees, of course.”
“Legal fees are not a marital expense. That is a dissipation of marital assets and we’re going to ask the court to make him put those fees back in the pension account,” snapped Ivana.
“Before you do that, Ivana, better read the Allison case. I’ll email it to you. Let me read you the holding. ‘We hold that when, as here, a spouse uses marital property to pay his or her own reasonable attorney’s fees, such expenditures do not constitute dissipation of marital assets.’”
Allison v. Allison, 160 Md. App. 331, 864 A.2d 191 (2004)