Protecting Yourself when Financial Infidelity Leads to A Divorce

On behalf of The Berger Firm July 17, 2020

In the last few years, the concept of financial infidelity has become mainstream. People who never really thought about whether their spouse might hide assets or debts from them are now acutely aware that financial transparency is a cornerstone of a healthy marriage.

If you discover that your spouse is engaged in some degree of financial infidelity, whether they have siphoned a portion of their paycheck off to a private account that they didn’t tell you about or they racked up substantial debts, possibly on a credit card that you didn’t even know existed, that discovery could destroy your trust in your partner and the relationship.

Financial infidelity is among the more common causes of modern divorce. If you discover that your spouse has lied to you or hidden financial details, knowing that should absolutely inform how you approach your pending divorce.

If You Suspect Hidden Assets, Make Sure that You Find Them All

Hiding assets from a spouse is kind of like planning ahead of time for a divorce. If one partner isn’t aware of an account or a physical asset, they won’t ask for their share of the asset value.

Once you learn that your spouse has intentionally hidden assets from you, you will want to take every step necessary, possibly including working with the forensic accountant in order to locate hidden accounts and assets.

You cannot request a fair division of your marital assets if you don’t know everything included in your marital estate. Tracking down hidden assets will be a very important step toward securing a fair outcome.

If Your Spouse Hid Debt, You Should Look at What They Spent Their Money On

Hidden debts can impact your divorce by diminishing the value of your marital estate and increasing the balance of various debt accounts you and your spouse have to split and pay off as part of the divorce.

If your spouse secretly opened an account and incurred debt while conducting an affair or compulsively shopping for their own ends, you may be able to make a claim to the courts that your lack of awareness of the debt and the fact that it only benefited your spouse means that the debt isn’t marital property subject to division.

However, if your spouse incurred debt while paying the utilities for your house, buying groceries or getting school supplies for your kids, chances are good that you will have to share in the repayment of those debts. Discussing financial infidelity with your attorney can help you better strategize for a pending divorce that may have financial complications.