Why can financial infidelity be so devastating?

On Behalf of | May 30, 2024 | High Asset Divorce |

Infidelity comes in more than one form. Most people are familiar with the concept of sexual infidelity. They know that spouses sometimes have intimate affairs. Sexual infidelity is one of the leading causes of divorce. In recent years, people have also begun to pay attention to emotional infidelity. So-called “work spouses” and close friends of the opposite sex can sometimes infringe on the relationship between spouses even if sexual contact does not occur.

Financial infidelity can also undermine marital relationships. Many people who discover financial infidelity feel devastated. Why can misinformation about finances do major damage to a marital relationship?

Financial lies undermine economic stability

Spouses generally have an obligation to share their resources with each other. They also need to be honest about what they earn and what they spend. Financial infidelity might involve lying about income and hiding part of each paycheck. It might involve someone opening secret credit cards that they max out and can barely make the minimum payments on each month. Financial infidelity might also look like spending frivolously and trying to hide it from a spouse. Any of those actions can diminish the value of the marital estate and put more financial strain on the other spouse. Discovering that someone has wasted thousands on shopping sprees or gambling can completely change someone’s perception of their current financial circumstances.

Financial lies destroy marital trust

People sometimes say that trust is like a mirror. People can try to fix it after breaking it, but the cracks are almost always still visible. Someone who has learned that their spouse lied to them consistently about financial matters may not be able to trust them anymore. They may wonder what else their spouse might lie about future. Some people take financial infidelity very personally and believe it is an indicator that their spouse is not fully committed to the marital relationship.

Financial infidelity complicates divorces

When someone has accrued a large amount of hidden debt or tried to prevent their spouse from knowing about their assets, divorce can become much messier. People may need to hire forensic accountants to go over every last detail during the property division process. The assistance of skilled financial experts may be necessary to ensure that everything is as fair and accurate as possible. Particularly when the marital estate is large and complex, a history of financial infidelity can make the divorce process much longer and more expensive.

Those preparing for complex or high-asset divorces who experienced financial infidelity may need help protecting themselves. Understanding the impact of financial infidelity is the first step toward holding a spouse accountable for it.