Marriage is a relationship built on trust and mutual respect. When one partner starts hiding things from the other, that foundation of trust can quickly erode. Financial infidelity has recently become a mainstream concept, although the issues it includes have affected couples forever for a long time.

If financial infidelity has affected your marriage, you may eventually find yourself headed toward divorce. If you do decide to end the marriage, acknowledging that financial infidelity can be a critical part of your divorce strategy.

What is financial infidelity?

Financial infidelity involves one spouse hiding financial information from the other. It can involve someone taking out a secret line of credit and engaging in frivolous spending that they know their spouse would never approve them if they knew about it.

It could involve hiding assets. One spouse might have an automatic withdrawal taken from their paycheck and put in to a savings account that the other spouse doesn’t even know exists.

How does financial infidelity affect a divorce?

Beyond possibly being the reason a couple chooses to divorce, financial infidelity can have several impacts on divorce proceedings.

The first and most obvious is that there could be hidden assets that you will need to try to uncover in order to get a fair share of the marital assets in the property division process. Another is that debts incurred without your knowledge may not be your responsibility if you can prove to the court that your spouse intentionally hid that debt from you.

Looking at your financial records and discussing your situation in depth with your attorney can give you a better idea of how to proceed if you find yourself considering divorce after discovering financial infidelity.