One of the leading causes of divorce in America is infidelity. When you hear the word “infidelity”, what comes to your mind? Probably one spouse cheating on the other with another person, right? Well, this is usually the leading cause of divorce in California. If you find yourself in such a situation and would like to initiate a divorce, you will want to contact an experienced family lawyer in Cerritos.

However, infidelity does not only refer to the disloyalty that a partner may show another through cheating. It can also come in other forms, such as financial infidelity.

What is Financial Infidelity?

Financial infidelity simply refers to the act of spending money without the knowledge of your spouse. While communication and emotional problems usually lead to the destruction of marriages, financial dishonesty is also a pivotal reason for most breakups. If you are secretly spending money without your spouse knowing, you are guilty of financial infidelity.

In most cases, financial infidelity happens when one spouse owns a bank account that the other partner has no idea about. While not as common as owning a secret bank account, infidelity can also happen when one partner takes on debt without the other partner knowing.

Below is a list of common financial infidelity incidences:

  • Hiding stashes of money
  • Hiding debt
  • Lying about income
  • Opening a secret credit card or bank account
  • Hiding credit card statements, receipts, or purchases

Causes of Financial Infidelity

There are various reasons why a spouse may be involved in financial infidelity. Money issues are sensitive in a relationship and some partners are not good at communicating about it. This lack of communication may take root in a relationship before the partners get married.

For example, when dating, a partner may be too embarrassed to disclose about the debt he/she has accrued over time. As a result, the partner may choose to remain silent and handle the debt on their own.

Some spouses also fear talking about money because they have opposing views on how it should be spent. For instance, one partner may prefer to take a cautious approach to business and saving as much money as is possible, while the other may be a daring risk-taker, always on the lookout for the next business opportunity.

Is Your Partner Guilty of Financial Infidelity?

The key to a strong marriage is honesty. Any form of secrecy, be it in relationships with other people or financial activities a person may be doing, can expose the marriage to imminent danger. Even if a partner is faithful or there is no emotional incompatibility, financial dishonesty can still be damaging.

Recent studies indicate that financial infidelity is on the rise in America. Kimberly Floss reports that about 7 million Americans have a secret credit card or bank account that their spouses do not know about. According to the report, more men practice financial infidelity than women.

Couples that do not share similar financial values, such as saving as much as possible or reducing debt are more likely to have issues with financial infidelity. When a spouse starts hiding or obfuscating their financial records, the lies can add up and lead to serious financial issues in the future.

How Will You Know if Your Partner is Hiding Financial Assets?

It is advisable for both partners to be honest about money issues from the onset of their relationship. However, if you are already married and are currently not active in managing the shared family income, start getting involved. Ideally, you should have a good idea of the incomes and debts that may be tied to your partner.

Taking an active role in your family’s financial standing is important for your own sake. This is because your finances are tied to property law and you will have a stake in them in case of a separation or divorce. For example, if your partner has accrued thousands of dollars in debt and you opt to divorce, you will be liable to pay part of the debt. This is one reason why you need to know your partner’s financial standing.

So, how can you know whether your partner is practicing financial infidelity? Here are some signs to look for:

  • You occasionally find expensive purchases hidden around the house
  • You do not understand some surprising, and often, high charges on the debit or credit card
  • The partner has huge unexplained sums of money
  • Your partner regularly withdraws huge some of cash whose origins you cannot explain
  • Sometimes, you find money is missing in the bank account for no reason

Financial Infidelity and Divorce
In California, financial infidelity is not a recognized ground for divorce. However, it is one of the reasons that can make a partner choose to seek out a divorce. Moreover, when one partner is hiding financial assets from the other, this action can affect the outcome of a divorce.

Financial secrets can affect how much assets are available for division during a divorce. However, if you were not aware of your spouse’s financial assets during the marriage, chances are that you won’t know everything during the divorce. For this reason, you should hire an experienced family lawyer to help you uncover your spouse’s financial assets if you suspect any financial infidelity. The information that the attorney will gather can help you get a fair settlement in case of a divorce.

How to Prevent Financial Infidelity

Clear communication is the best way of preventing financial infidelity. If you are still dating, it is important for you and your partner to sit down and talk out the details of your financial life. This talk should cover everything, from credit card accounts to long-term financial goals. 

From the talk, you should agree on the basic priorities, i.e., what money should be spent on and what it should be saved for. For example, you’ll need to come up with a household budget together and work out the targets you’ll need to achieve to live the life that you want. You also want to work out how much to spend on food, rent, and other basic needs. Finally, decide on the amount of savings you should be making for your long term goals.

If you are suspecting financial infidelity, go through your partner’s financial records carefully. A good place to start would be credit card bills, bank statements, and tax documents.