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How big of a problem is financial infidelity during divorce?

Unfortunately, financial infidelity is a big problem in divorce. A recent publication by CNN Money notes that approximately 15 million people hid credit cards and other financial accounts from their significant others. An additional 9 million people have had such an account but have recently confessed the presence of these hidden assets or credit cards to their partner.

The survey broke the practice down by generation. The younger the individual, the more likely he or she was to have a hidden account. 31 percent of Millennials reported owning a secret account, 24 percent of Gen Xers and 17 percent of Baby Boomers. 

What does this mean for couples going through a divorce? It can mean some ugly surprises when it comes to the property division determination portion of the proceeding. Two specific issues that can arise include:

  • Unexpected debt. In many cases, credit cards taken out during a marriage count as marital property. As such, both partners could be liable for the debt even if one partner was completely unaware of the existence of the card.
  • Hidden funds. A similar piece in Forbes notes that divorce proceedings generally include the use of a financial affidavit. If a spouse fails to disclose the presence of assets within this court document he or she is violating the law and could face serious ramifications. This could include an order to pay your attorney fees or potential imprisonment.

These issues can be avoided by finding an experienced legal team to represent your interests during a divorce. 

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