In the United States, about 30% of couples deal with financial infidelity. Financial infidelity can mean secreting away assets, making unexplained purchases, taking out loans on marital property, lying about income, or a number of other dishonest financial practices. Frequently, divorcing spouses find out about financial infidelity after divorce proceedings have been initiated. However, it can be easier to discover when you are still living together.
The warning signs
If you anticipate an amicable divorce, you may not think your spouse is hiding assets or debts. However, it is always important to look for the warning signs now. Is your spouse hiding financial documents? Avoiding conversations about money? Are there new and unexplained spending patterns? If so, your spouse may be engaging in financial infidelity. If your spouse is hiding assets or accumulating debt during the marriage, you may be awarded less of the marital estate or be liable for more debt than you anticipate.
What to do next
The next step is to collect as much information as possible to put together a full financial picture. Get documentation of everything, including:
- Bank statements, including from all checking and savings accounts
- Credit card statements
- Mortgage statements
- Insurance policy documents
- Brokerage account statements
- Retirement statements
- Tax returns
Make sure to save them to a secure location, whether that is on a password-protected drive, on your personal cloud storage service, or in hard copy in a trusted location.
Do not be afraid to talk to them
If you suspect financial infidelity, do not be afraid to talk to your spouse. Ask them about the accounts you found and see if there are any that you are missing. If you are able to have an honest conversation with your spouse, you may be surprised at how much information you can get now, before the topic of divorce comes up.
Help is out there
Making sense of financial documentation can be a daunting task, especially when your spouse has been dishonest with family assets. Professional family lawyers can help you put together the full picture of your marital estate in preparation for your divorce.