In the age of cryptocurrency, mobile banking apps, mobile payment apps, and compulsive shopping or gambling issues, financial infidelity may be a major threat to a marriage. It can involve romantic infidelity, having a boyfriend or girlfriend on the side that you’re spending money on or not being true about where the money is going. Being secretive about finances is the No. 2 deal-breaker in relationships, as found in a study by GOBanking.
There are many signs that a partner may be lying about money during a relationship, or more commonly, after divorce proceedings begin. Here are some signs that your spouse may be or have been financial unfaithful:
- Your Partner insists on separate banking accounts
Joint checking accounts may not be the answer for every couple; there are valid reasons to choose to have them. It may hold you accountable for purchases, and you can work together on financial goals, such as saving for home ownership or a vacation. If your partner insists on having their own checking account, this could be a red flag that they have a spending problem, significant debt or even something worse. It is important to have an honest discussion with your partner about why they may be opposed to having a checking account — for instance, you may have different spending habits, and there may be a lack of trust there, but in order to know, you need to ask first.
- You Uncover a Secret Checking Account
You and your partner may have agreed on separate checking accounts, but you come across an account in their name that was never discussed before. Worst case scenario is that they are using this secret account to hide extravagant purchases from you or money on affairs. Sometimes this can be nefarious, but it may be for good reasons. If you are getting a divorce, it’s particularly important to keep track of these accounts and speak to your divorce attorney about how to approach the issue.
- Purchase You Don’t Remember Appear On Your Account
Are you seeing charges that you don’t recognize? If your partner is being evasive about contributing to savings accounts or household bills, but you are noticing odd charges to bank or credit card statements, this could indicate that they are lying about finances. People might be spending money on gadgets, designer clothes, etc. If you are in a marriage a good strategy is to non-aggressively confront your spouse about these purchases. If you are getting divorced, you may want to speak to your attorney about the best approach to information gathering.
- Changes to your Bank Account
If the bank or credit union calls you about your account, or you find out one of your shared accounts funds have evaporated overnight, you might need to talk to your spouse or possibly a divorce attorney. Your spouse should consult with you first about any major changes to joint accounts.It is a huge red flag if there are any unannounced password changes to joint accounts as well. They could be hiding a large purchase or an extramarital affair.
- Hoarding Money
Sometimes partners may be hoarding cash outside bank accounts. This could be their way of saving up to make a getaway or it could amount to a deceitful way to hide assets so they don’t have to declare assets in divorce. Not disclosing assets in a divorce in Massachusetts is illegal. However spouses often get away with it. If you are on the brink of divorce and you suspect your spouse is doing anything to hide assets, even hiding money under the mattress, you should consult your divorce lawyer.
What do you do if your spouse is cheating financially?
The number 1 cause of divorce in the US is money. It’s understandable that people might have emotional issues attached to money and might not always behave correctly. People might be in financially imbalanced relationships where one spouse earns much more than the other.
However, if you suspect serious financial infidelity it may be time to consider a divorce. If you are considering a divorce, and you have a financially cheating spouse it is extremely important to be careful and circumspect about what happens next.
You need to speak to your attorney immediately and get advice on how to gather information on what is happening without crossing boundaries and spying on your spouse in ways that could get you into trouble. Certain actions, like cleaning out bank accounts may backfire on you during a divorce and should be discussed with your attorney.
Financially cheating spouses could deprive you of the marital assets you are entitled to in court, or they could drag a divorce out so it drains your finances. Protect yourself and get advice so you can consider how to move forward.
At Amaral & Associates P.C., we understand how spouses could hide money or cheat financially. If you or someone you know are thinking about getting a divorce or other family law matter, and reside in Massachusetts, please call Amaral & Associates, P.C. at (617) 539-1010 or visit us at www.Amarallaw.com for information about what your next steps should be and whether mediation or a traditional divorce is the best option for you.
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