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Financial infidelity during marriage can mean problems in divorce

| Dec 4, 2019 | Property Division |

Any infidelity can be painful, but financial infidelity cuts deep.

Financial infidelity is when one spouse hides assets, income or debts from the other. It can mean finding out suddenly that you’re much more deeply in debt than you expected. It can have real-world consequences.

It can hurt, so much. It can cause you to lose your trust in the person you thought you could trust more than anyone.

Unfortunately, it’s all too common. According to some research, as many as 41% of U.S. adults acknowledge hiding an account, a debt or their spending habits from their partner or spouse.

It may be possible to overcome financial infidelity; only you can know whether it is in your case. If you can’t overcome it, it may be the reason you’re considering divorce now. If it is, you should be aware that a history of dishonesty about money could spell trouble in your divorce process.

Is your spouse hiding assets or income?

It’s difficult to say how often it happens, but divorce attorneys know that some clients hide assets and income from the divorce court.

The person may justify the omissions as an effort to achieve a fair result. But it’s illegal to lie on your income schedules in a divorce.

Some people who earn substantial income in the form of tips or bonuses may underestimate their earnings. People who have property in another state may simply decline to list it in the paperwork.

This is usually done in an effort to get more than their share of the marital property, or to achieve a lower child custody or alimony award.

The good news is that it’s often relatively easy to discover hidden assets and income. Most income is reported to the IRS by the payor or employer, and it may be as simple as getting access to an official pay statement. There are services that can search for hidden assets in other states. Financial accountants can work backwards through someone’s stated finances to uncover irregularities.

If your spouse was financially unfaithful during your marriage, their dishonesty may continue through the divorce. If you suspect that could be happening, discuss your concerns with an experienced divorce attorney. They can take concrete steps to resolve the question in your mind and protect your rights.