You have probably heard the term marital infidelity. Usually, this refers to one spouse having an emotional or sexual affair. These extramarital relationships can quickly lead to divorce. Even if couples try to work through the issues, infidelity is often a sign that one spouse is less invested in the marriage than the other.
What you may not know is that physical infidelity is only one of the kinds of infidelity that can impact your marriage. More marriages are impacted by financial infidelity than sexual infidelity, and it can be a sign of issues that will lead to divorce.
What is financial infidelity?
At its most basic, financial infidelity is the intentional misrepresentation of financial matters to your spouse or significant other. It can take many different forms depending on the circumstances of the marriage and the individuals involved.
Financial infidelity could look like opening a secret bank account to hide some of your income from your spouse. It could also look like hiding the fact that you use marital assets to gamble or support an addiction to alcohol or drugs. Financial infidelity can even look like racking up thousands of dollars in credit card debt without warning your spouse.
Those decisions that you make in secret can have a major impact on your spouse, because you are jointly responsible for the assets and the debts you acquire during your marriage. Similarly, if your spouse hides important financial information from you, it can also impact your future.
Financial infidelity can impact the outcome of your divorce
If you have reason to believe that your spouse lied to you about financial information or intentionally withheld important information from you, that may be a red flag that divorce is in your future. A breach of trust like this may be impossible to fully recover from. Anyone who has caught their spouse in a financial lie should consider working with a forensic accountant early in the divorce.
These professionals have the ability to track down assets and verify financial issues from your marriage. In the event that one spouse wasted marital assets on an affair or racked up debt in an attempt to punish the other spouse, that could impact the outcome of the asset division process.
In some cases, you or your spouse could become solely responsible for certain debts. In other cases, locating hidden assets can increase the amount of the marital estate that gets split in the divorce.
Although financial infidelity is common, that doesn’t mean it is acceptable. If financial infidelity has impacted your marriage or is one of the factors contributing to your upcoming divorce, make sure you thoroughly investigate the financial details of your marriage.