In a surprising percentage of marriages, one partner has income, savings, or debt that the other partner knows nothing about. They may be hiding excessive spending, gambling, or a costly habit. They often think it’s short-term or unimportant, but their partners may disagree.
According to NPR, there have been several academic studies of the problem. They estimate that about 41% of Americans are hiding an account, a debt, or their spending habits from their partner or spouse. And, that number is very likely rising.
A recent survey by CreditCards.com found that millennials were almost twice as likely as other generations to be hiding money or accounts. This could be because it’s easier to hide these accounts in the modern world, since everything can be done online.
The results can be devastating. Money has significant meaning for everyone, but it usually relates to safety and security. When someone discovers their spouse was hiding money or debt, it can evoke the strongest feelings of betrayal and distrust.
Financial infidelity may be one reason your marriage is ending. If it is, you need to find out the full extent of the hidden accounts.
Hiding assets or income is not uncommon in divorce
Unfortunately, the fact that your partner lied about money in the past could very well indicate there is an ongoing problem. There are people who see an advantage in being dishonest about their financial positions when it comes time to divorce.
For example, a person who earns a substantial portion of their income in tips could easily underestimate how much they earn. They might do this to gain a greater share of the marital assets that are being divided. They may be trying to get a lower child support or maintenance (alimony) order.
If you have experienced financial infidelity, you should know that there are ways to find out the truth. Often, it takes just a little digging to find hidden assets or income. It sometimes takes a document search or the services of a forensic accountant.
If you do find assets or income that your divorcing spouse didn’t declare to the court, they could be in real trouble. They could be found in contempt of court, or they might even be ordered to pay any legal fees that were required to uncover the dishonesty.
The first step is to share your concerns with an experienced divorce attorney.