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March 19, 2018
How should I handle financial infidelity?

You have begun to feel that something is amiss with your spouse. Lately, they have been acting secretive. The statements for your joint accounts show mysterious withdrawals. Sometimes, you don’t even get to see your statements: Your spouse snatches them up before you get a chance to review them. Something is going on, but you can’t quite put your finger on it.

You may be experiencing financial infidelity. This is when one spouse is financial dishonest with the other. It may include hiding purchases, keeping secret credit cards or accounts, concealing debt and lying about financial transactions. If you suspect that your partner is lying about their finances, these are a few things that you should do.

Gather evidence

The first thing that you should do is gather as much evidence that you can. Financial infidelity is necessarily secretive, and you will need ample documentation on your side. This can include financial records, bank statements, receipts and anything else that can provide evidence. In some cases, it may be necessary to hire a forensic accountant or an attorney to assist you. When you have sufficient documentation, be prepared to present it to your spouse.

Protect your finances

Financial infidelity can take a serious hit on your finances. You may be focused on tracking down your spouse’s hidden activity, you should also be thinking about how to protect your own financial standing. If necessary, begin to disentangle your own finances from your spouse’s so that they are not at risk of depletion. Put money in a separate checking and savings account; remove your name from joint accounts; work with an attorney to make sure that you are not legally on the hook for your partner’s debts.

Have an honest discussion

Eventually, you will need to confront your spouse about their financial habits. When this time comes, it is important to have an honest, frank discussion. Tell your spouse how financial infidelity makes you feel and how it has affected your financial situation. For some couples, the conversation will be calm and straightforward; for others, it may be angry and deceptive. The discussion might not be pleasant, but will certainly be necessary.

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