When couples marry, they take a sacred vow to stay together “for richer or poorer.” But too often, marriages end in divorce because one partner deceived the other about their finances.
Financial infidelity occurs when couples with combined finances lie to each other about money. Astonishingly, a recent survey conducted by CreditCards.com revealed that a significant 32% of adults confessed to committing financial deception, despite sharing finances with their partners.
Some of the major reasons for keeping financial secrets include:
- Control over personal finances
- Embarrassment over how finances are handled or having significant debt
- Not trusting a partner with finances
- Addictions with financial consequences
- Avoiding the subject altogether
In today’s world of online transactions and credit card offers, it’s fairly easy to hide monthly statements and mounting debt. But when two people share joint funds, other shared investments and expenses, such as a mortgage, are put in jeopardy.
So, what do you do when you have found out your spouse has a lot of debt or has been spending behind your back? In this article we will discuss the damage financial infidelity can do, and what you can do about it.
It’s About More Than the Money
Financial infidelity is a common reason for divorce today. For starters, it can damage a couple monetarily, leading to challenges in meeting financial goals and building a secure future together. The further you or your partner sink into debt, the less chance you have to save for retirement, vacation, your kids’ college education, or the home of your dreams.
But the damage can also be emotional. Your partner may not only lie about their debt but also secret bank accounts, their savings, credit cards, unexplained withdrawals, and reckless spending. This kind of lying behind your back not only impacts your finances but can also wreak havoc on your marriage and destroy your trust in your partner.
If you are considering divorce, and suspect your husband or wife has hidden assets, debt, or spending, you need to take every step necessary. Along with the strain on your finances, financial infidelity can make the divorce process more complicated. In community property states like California, both spouses are responsible for paying off debt and other payments.
Making It About You
Money is a sensitive topic and it can be difficult to discuss even after years of marriage. That’s why it’s important to be open and honest about your finances and work toward shared financial goals and transparency.
But if financial infidelity is one of the signs you got married too soon or one of the reasons for divorce, then contacting a divorce attorney should be your next step. A great law firm will have leading forensic accountants and business valuation experts on their team. Valuation and proper characterization of all community assets and debt are essential to achieving a fair property settlement. Financial infidelity can be devastating, but you shouldn’t go through it alone. You cannot change the past, but you can decide how to move forward.