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LOCATIONS | ST. LOUIS, MO, & STE. GENEVIEVE, MO

Marriage is a partnership, a relationship that requires a steady back-and-forth between partners. Communication sounds like a simple concept but, in truth, it’s one of the hardest things people do. To make a marriage work, partners need to share emotions and talk about the details of daily life. That refers to exciting things like promotions and vacations, and mundane details like doing the laundry and picking up the kids.

This also includes money management. Studies show that many couples don’t talk about money between each other, and some even hide bank accounts, credit cards, debit, and other important assets. You share what you own in marriage, by law. Hidden money or debt is more than a breakdown of trust. It might mean extra liability that you didn’t even know existed.

Financial infidelity is widespread

Some people use the term “financial infidelity” to reference when a spouse likes about their money. It’s a significant problem in the US. A new study says 15 million people hide accounts and credit cards from their spouse, while 9 million more admit to doing it in the past. Young people do it more often than older, but 17 percent of Baby Boomers are still hiding funds, the study says.

Not only are millions of people hiding money, but it’s a big deal to their significant other. Thirty-one percent of people in the same study says that hiding money is worse than physically cheating on each other. Often, mismanaging money and lying about it are grounds for divorce.

Dishonesty in divorce

Hiding assets is a common problem in divorce. Because Missouri is an “equitable distribution” state, that means whatever you’ve acquired during the marriage is partially yours. Besides hiding a bank account prior to divorce, sometimes a looming divorce leads to more dishonesty. To get an unfair advantage, a spouse might move funds to a personal account, make a “loan” to a friend, or purchase a significant property only to return or sell it after the divorce is final.

Even if your spouse is hiding something from you, you co-own that property and its value needs to be included in the divorce settlement. Knowing state law and the many ways that assets may be hidden, an experienced divorce attorney can help you to research your overall finances in search of a hidden property that you have a claim to.