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Secret spending can damage a marriage

Washington readers may be interested to know that purchases made behind a spouse's back may be doing harm to the stability of the relationship the couple shares. One out of ten respondents in a recent survey admitted that hiding credit card purchases from a spouse had a role in their subsequent divorce. This can be an especially tricky issue in a high asset divorce because there is so much money and property at stake.

More polling of 1,000 men and women indicates that 36 percent of those who lied about spending did it to avoid angering their spouse, and another 35 percent hid their purchases to avoid disapproval. Another finding was that women are 60 percent more likely than men to hide a credit card statement from their partner and feel guilt for doing so. However, men tend on average to spend more money in such situations.

Not all of these secret expenditures were frivolous. Although half of the respondents did confess to making impulse buys, the remaining half said the credit cards were used for living expenses such as food, gasoline, utilities and rent. Many other studies have also concluded that arguments about money are a top predictor of divorce.

A person who is contemplating the termination of a marriage as a result of financial mismanagement by the other spouse may wish to speak with an attorney who has experience in divorce matters. The attorney may be able to help negotiate and prepare a property division agreement that takes into account such behavior. The attorney may also be able to render advice concerning the availability of spousal support.

Source: Huffington Post, "Secret Credit Card Spending And Divorce Linked In New Survey", October 14, 2013

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