A recent survey indicates that financial infidelity in a marriage, described as hiding funds or spending from a spouse, is more common than people may have thought. The telephone survey of over 840 Americans determined that some spouses will open bank and credit card accounts and keep them hidden from their partners. People also will sometimes take money from ATMs and set it aside.
Along with hiding money, secretive spending is also an issue. Spouses will do things like hide gift cards to spend on themselves or spend money and not tell each other. In fact, one out of every five couples feel that spending $500 without telling their spouse is okay.
Unsurprisingly, hiding assets or spending from a spouse can lead to major problems in the relationship. A study done by a Kansas State University researcher found that couples who argued about finances early in their marriage were more likely to get divorced than their counterparts. Although some cite avoiding arguments as their reason for hiding spending, these habits are likely to cause problems, especially if spending ends up affecting a couple's budgeting or financial situation.
Along with the relationship problems that financial infidelity can cause, it can also have an effect on property division during a divorce. During a divorce, all assets must be reported so that it can be determined if they are marital assets, and if they are, they are eligible for division. If someone believes their spouse is hiding assets from them, a lawyer may be able to assist in determining if this is the case and how to handle it.