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Financial infidelity can present challenges during your divorce

Unfortunately, financial infidelity is a growing problem in the United States. Currently, over 40% of Americans commit financial infidelity. This involves secretly spending money or secretly incurring debt, and like other forms of infidelity, it could be a threat to romantic relationships.

A spouse's financial infidelity could be leading couples to divorce and contributing to the country's high divorce rates. However, it may also be negatively impacting divorce outcomes for financially honest spouses.

How might financial secrets impact the outcome of my divorce?

If you and your spouse are divorcing after your spouse’s financial secrets were revealed, you may still be responsible for the consequences of those secrets, such as paying back debts. Your spouse’s actions may also affect the assets available for division during your divorce, as well as the income available for alimony or child support.

However, if your spouse kept financial secrets from you during your marriage, it may be difficult to trust him or her to be honest during your divorce. Although it is illegal, some spouses try to hide assets during divorce to prevent those assets from being divided at all. This type of behavior may further prevent you from receiving fair divorce outcomes.

How can I find out if my spouse is hiding assets?

Those who try to hide assets usually try to do so in one of four ways. They may deny that the asset exists, transfer the asset to a third party, claim the asset was lost or create fake debt.

Fortunately, trying to hide assets in these ways often leaves a paper trail. If you think your spouse may be hiding assets, you and your divorce team may begin looking for that paper trail in your family’s past tax returns and mortgage closing documents. Pay special attention to anything out of the ordinary regarding sources of income, sources of financial losses, property tax deductions and assets.

Distrust between spouses is common during most divorces, but it may be especially difficult to overcome when a marriage involves a history of secrets. However, if financial infidelity occurred in your marriage, there may be steps you can take to limit the effect financial secrets have on your divorce outcomes.

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