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High asset divorce may follow financial secrecy

Millennial couples seem to be approaching marriage differently from those in past generations, especially when it comes to finances. Many Massachusetts millennials have careers, savings and investments before they consider marriage, and this often means keeping some aspects of their finances separate after they take their vows. However, separate does not have to mean secret, and some money experts fear that too many money secrets in a marriage may lead to high asset divorce.

A secret debt may cause trouble for a couple. If one partner carries substantial credit card debt or student loans, the finances of both may be in jeopardy. Having a disproportionate income to debt ratio or a poor credit rating may make it difficult to get a mortgage for a home. Additionally, keeping this information secret means it may only come to light when making an application for a home loan or other large purchase. This could easily result in tension and mistrust between the couple.

Only a few decades ago, it was not necessary for a wife to have her own bank account since she probably did not have a job outside the home. Money went into the family account, and expenses were paid from that account. Today, many couples keep their income separate, dividing the bills and paying for joint expenses from a joint account. However, if one partner has an account about which the other doesn't know, this may breed suspicion and mistrust. Money counselors recommend honest communication about all accounts and the balances they hold.

One spouse may feel embarrassed or nervous about sharing details like alimony payments or a past bankruptcy. Additionally, one spouse may not discover the other partner has an addiction or uncontrolled spending habits until well into the marriage. When these financial issues create a strain on the marriage, the union may not survive.

Since millennials typically have retirement funds or own their own businesses, divorcing may require careful negotiation to keep those things intact. Seeking advice from a Massachusetts attorney with experience in high asset divorce may be to one's advantage. Such an attorney will work to protect the rights of the client and to bring to light any financial secrets the partner may hold.

Source: nasdaq.com, "Financial Secrets Your Partner Might Be Keeping From You", Aug. 14, 2017

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