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Financial infidelity: Is it worse than a physical affair?

On Behalf of | Jul 7, 2023 | Divorce |

Those who choose to get married take vows. These vows signify a commitment to each other and are often made in front of family and loved ones, but they are also something more. They also signify part of a legal agreement between the parties and the government. A failure to abide by the agreement can trigger a divorce. There is often debate over whether some failures more serious than others. The answer depends on the situation but there is a growing argument that in many relationships financial infidelity tops the list.

A report from National Debt Relief supports this argument. The group conducted a survey and found 54 percent of people believe a partner with debt is a reason to move forward with divorce. Add in a situation when that debt was secret or maintained through lies to their partner and the number increases.

Why is debt such a big deal?

Debt is a two-headed beast. First, there is the debt itself. Managing repayment can fall on the shoulders of both individuals within the marriage and potentially even after the divorce.

Second, financial infidelity is often tied to a series of lies that slowly corrode the trust within the marriage. Those going through divorce have shared story after story of how lies around money, spending, and debt can seem more calculated and cause just as much if not more emotional pain than lies used to conceal a physical, sexual affair.

Does financial infidelity impact divorce?

Unfortunately, financial infidelity will result in more than just emotional strife. It will also impact the legal process of the divorce.

There is a pathway to finalizing divorce and property division of marital assets is an important part of the process. During this portion of the divorce, each party provides information on assets and debts. This is imperative so the divorcing parties split the assets in accordance with state law. A failure to provide this information can result in more than just frustration, it can have a negative impact on the legal process.

What are some examples of the negative impacts of debt on divorce?

The first is simple logistics. Failure to provide information about the debt during the divorce in a timely manner can lengthen the process — ultimately making the divorce even more expensive.

The issue can escalate based on the circumstances. If, for example, one party to the divorce attempts to hide those assets or debts the court could officially order disclosure or take additional adverse action against that individual.


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