Financial infidelity and the risk of divorce

Posted by David Jacks | Nov 23, 2015

On behalf of The Jacks Law Group on Friday, May 22, 2015.

Whether you love it or hate it, you have opinions about money. In fact, all of us have money opinions, and they're strong. In some ways, it can't be helped – having money means having security and opportunity. Being short on money often means hardship and want.

In light of the fact that we all have strong feelings about money, it's pretty important to find a spouse with compatible financial views. At the very least, couples should be able to speak openly about finances without worrying about how it will affect the relationship. Unfortunately, disagreements about money are often at the heart of divorce, and a surprising number of married couples engage in what's often referred to as “financial infidelity.”

According to one national survey, approximately one-third of adults in relationships with comingled finances admitted to telling money-related lies to their spouse or significant other. Of those who admitted to lying, 76 percent said that their financial deception has affected the relationship.

What exactly is financial infidelity? In short, it comes down to lying about your finances and financial habits, including lies of omission. Examples include:

  • Keeping a secret bank account or stores of cash that your spouse doesn't know about
  • Making secret purchases that you hide from your spouse
  • Lying about or failing to disclose how much debt you actually have
  • Having credit card statements and other bills sent to your office so your spouse won't see them
  • Lying about new purchases when your spouse asks, saying “I've had that for years”

To be sure, there may not be any harm in having some money you keep for your own spending enjoyment. But if you feel like you have to lie to your spouse about money, you may want to ask yourself why that is. It could be that you feel ashamed of the behavior. Or you are worried you'll be judged. Or you don't feel safe in the relationship and worry that your spouse will become angry.

As we have previously written, prenuptial agreements can actually help prevent issues like these because they require couples to have honest and sometimes difficult conversations about money before getting married. But even if a prenuptial agreement isn't for you, please know that financial infidelity is a much more serious problem than many people realize. Therefore, honesty is almost always the best policy.

Source: TIME, “7 Ways Couples Cheat on Each Other – Financially,” Molly Triffin, May 19, 2015

About the Author

David Jacks

David Jacks has over a decade of legal experience and he is a lifetime resident of Las Vegas and a veteran of the United States Army. After the completion of his service in the military, Jacks began working as a construction superintendent in Las Vegas during a major period of growth for the city.

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