Gusty A.E. Sunseri & Associates, P.C. Attorneys at Law

Spouses who hide money issues from each other risk divorce

Most people, whether they live in Pittsburgh or anywhere else in the country, are willing to forgive a lot of faults that they perceive in their spouse. These could be little faults or big ones, but the bigger they get, the harder it is for an aggrieved spouse to overlook them. Infidelity is often cited as an example of a fault that is difficult to overlook. However, a problem that may be even more common, and cause the demise of more marriages, is keeping secrets about money. Some people call this "financial infidelity," in order to highlight how emotional the issue can be, and how seriously many people take it.

Financial habits like making big purchases without consulting the other spouse, or hiding money, or keeping secret bank accounts, can cause serious problems in a marriage. The problems can be so great that they lead to divorce.

Despite the risks, many people lie to their spouses about money. A survey done by the National Endowment for Financial Education found that 31 percent of the spouses surveyed said they had been deceptive about money.

More than 50 percent said that they had hidden a purchase or hidden cash from their spouse at some time. Worst of all, 34 percent said they had lied to their spouse about their own income or level of debt.

The researchers found that 16 percent of the respondents got divorced because of financial infidelity. That would be roughly half of the people who were engaging in it. By that measure, Pittsburgh divorce attorneys would point out that committing financial infidelity is like flipping a coin (maybe that you kept in secret?), and letting the results of the coin flip determine whether or not you will get divorced.

Source: CNN Money "Financial infidelity: Catching a cheating spouse" 7/1/2011

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