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When one spouse secretly racks up debt

On Behalf of | Nov 23, 2020 | Divorce |

The term “financial infidelity” often conjures up images of one spouse hiding money from the other. The person might open a new bank account and not tell their spouse. Into the new account goes money that one person never knows about. A person planning to file for divorce may do this.

Financial infidelity does not always involve hiding or stealing money or assets. It can involve amassing debt that an unknowing partner may need to repay.

The widespread problem of financial infidelity

NBC News reported that a study found as many as 15 million people opened credit card or bank accounts without telling their partners. At the same time, roughly one in three people stated they believe financial infidelity to be as serious or worse than physical infidelity.

Sole and joint debt in a marriage

Some spouses may let their partners manage all financial matters. This makes it easier for the person in control of the money to hide assets or debts. That person might make sizeable purchases on joint credit cards and may even fail to keep current on payments. In the end, the debt plagues both parties.

Clues to watch for

The Simple Dollar notes that spouses should pay attention when their partners seem to spend more lavishly than normal. Another sign of potential financial infidelity is a change in a person’s demeanor when money comes up in conversation. A spouse hiding assets or debts may become irritable when the other person asks about money. The financially unfaithful spouse may try to redirect the conversation away from financial matters.