Keith B. Schulefand, Esq.
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The other type of infidelity

Infidelity. When you hear the word, you likely think of an unfaithful partner. That unfaithfulness, though, may have come in a different form than you were expecting -- financial infidelity. Financial infidelity involves one spouse making significant monetary decisions without the knowledge of the other spouse. While it may not sound like a big deal, it can be.

More couples divorce over issues involving money than for any other reason. Not only does financial infidelity endanger the stability and future of both spouses as individuals, it shows a disregard for some of the most important parts of any healthy marriage: communication and trust. The money itself is often much less significant than the duplicity behind it. It doesn't matter how much or how little the amounts are; what matters is the breach of trust. Betrayal frequently spells doom for many marriages.

Three financial lies that almost guarantee divorce

While every relationship is unique, financial advisors have narrowed the numerous different types of financial infidelity down to three easy-to-remember things that often lead to the end of a marriage:

  • Sneaky spending
  • Secret savings
  • Juvenile justification

The challenging part for you may be determining whether something is actually going on, or whether you're just imagining things. You may sense that something feels amiss with your finances, but may be uncertain how to go about exploring whether your suspicions are valid. If these red flags persistently pop up, though, you may want to take a closer look.

Sneaky Spending

If your partner is spending money behind your back and consistently failing to tell you about it, this could spell ruin for your relationship. While less-than-honest spending takes different forms for every couple, it always comes down to the bottom line: dishonesty in your marriage. Whether the amounts are large or small, if your spouse is hiding receipts, taking out secret credit cards without your knowledge, or even just flat-out lying about expenses, it still involves deceit.

Secret savings

While a savings account doesn't sound like a bad thing, a secret one indicates your spouse doesn't trust you enough to tell you about it. Not only could this signify a lack of trust, but a lack of intimacy and transparency as well, the very foundations of a healthy marriage. Keeping financial secrets can be damaging or even fatal to a relationship.

Juvenile justification

This aspect of financial infidelity involves the way your spouse may justify the lies, either personally or to you. Whether your spouse's internal dialogue says that it's for the good of the marriage, or whether, when confronted, your spouse assumes that you wouldn't understand or approve, or that it wasn't worth mentioning, he or she still uses rationalization as a defense mechanism to continue keeping secrets from you.

What can I do?

While financial infidelity doesn't always lead to divorce, it does often indicate deeper underlying issues and problems in the marriage. If this is the case and you know you would be better off ending your marriage, you may benefit from solid legal advice. Especially in cases with a history of financial infidelity, you may want a seasoned New York family law attorney who can help you explore aspects like the possibility of hidden assets to help improve your chances of a fair settlement when it comes to property division.

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