Virginia Divorces: Divorce in Popular Culture – It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia

So I started re-watching some of the earlier seasons of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia and noticed that some of the episodes deal with Frank’s divorce.  Frank[1] has some fun theories on what to do with his money while his divorce case is pending.  Of note, he wants to either give his money away to the poor or otherwise hide it from his wife.  Would he be able get away with his schemes if the show was called It’s Always Sunny in Virginia?  Let’s see . . .

In “The Gang Goes on Welfare,” the following exchange occurs:

Charlie: So you’re giving me all your money?

Frank: Charlie, for the 500th time, I’m not giving it you.  It’s not yours.  I’m just setting up a temporary account in your name.  What my wife can’t find, she can’t get.

Charlie: This is good.  This is shady.  I like this kind of stuff.

Charlie was right.  This is shady.  And Virginia divorce law accounts for its shadiness.  Va. Code § 20-107.3(E)(10) states that the trial court shall determine the amount of any monetary award in performing an equitable distribution of the marital estate after consideration of, inter alia, the “use or expenditure of marital property by either of the parties for a nonmarital purpose or the dissipation of such funds, when such was done in anticipation of divorce or separation or after the last separation of the parties.”  As such, marital waste occurs when such an expenditure is for a nonmarital purpose or done in a deliberate attempt to dissipate the size of the marital estate available for the monetary award.  See, e.g., Thomas v. Thomas, 40 Va. App. 639 (2003).

Frank’s transfer of his money into a temporary account in Charlie’s name is an obviously deliberate attempt to dissipate the size of the marital estate available to his wife.  Frank has committed some very shady marital waste and he will most likely have to make up for this lost money at his divorce trial even if he doesn’t have the funds available to do so.

[1] Danny DeVito’s character