Financial Infidelity and how it can ruin your Marriage

According to CNNMoney, there may be more than one type of infidelity that can ruin a marriage. The CNN article published online on Wednesday claims that financial infidelity can be just as devastating to the marriage as sexual infidelity.

What is “financial infidelity”? According to the article it can be as innocuous as hidden purchases or money hidden in sock drawers, but it also can include secret bank accounts and hidden assets and it is much more common than most people realize.

If you have lied about purchases or hidden cash, you are not alone. According to a recent survey by the National Endowment for Financial Education, or NEFE, a Denver, Colorado nonprofit group, up to 31% of spouses admit they are not always truthful about their finances. Why do we deceive our spouses? The most common reason given was to avoid what could be “severe consequences”.

Unfortunately, there seems to be long-term consequences of financial infidelity, even for spouses who may have been able to hide it in the short-term. According to the NEFE, more than 16% of respondents of the survey admitted that their deception eventually led to divorce.

Experts suggest that any adult who is considering marriage should discuss their financial expectations with their potential spouse. According to NEFE, 14% of couples who were considering marriage or who had recently been married had never had a serious discussion about money before their marriage. What does this mean? Most couples spend more time planning their wedding and picking out flowers than having serious adult conversations about their future.

Avoiding a Financial Meltdown

Before the marriage and before either partner makes financial mistakes, couples should ask each other questions about their financial priorities. How much money does each spouse have saved? What is their credit score? Do they want to own a home? Do they like to travel? How much do they have saved for retirement?

Many marriage experts also recommend ordering a credit report and making sure there are no financial secrets or surprises. This may sound unromantic, but it can potentially save your marriage or provide a warning that you and your spouse are financially incompatible.

So how do you know if your partner is hiding something from you? Are they unwilling to discuss money without getting angry? Do they refuse to let you see their bank account statements or credit reports? Do they plan to make large purchases without telling you? Do you know what bills they have each month?

It is also important to discuss who will handle the bills or if they will be handled together. There is nothing wrong with one person managing the money, but the couple should complete a budget together and have a general consensus about how much money will be saved and spent each month.

Filing for Divorce

Many couples failed to financially plan for their marriage and this failure has led to arguments, disagreements, anger and resentment. Many couples also face high levels of debt from one spouse’s mismanagement of money.

If you have attempted to reconcile and have been unable to come to any type of resolution, it may be time to discuss your marriage with a divorce lawyer. Divorce lawyers understand the divorce laws for your state and can answer your questions about all of the most important divorce issues including: child support, spousal support, child custody, and property distribution.

Divorce should always be the last option, but if it is your only option, contact a divorce lawyer who will review your case and help make sure your family is protected.