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Financial cheating can play role in divorce in Massachusetts

Most people in Massachusetts are probably familiar with the notion of cheating -- either physically or emotionally -- on a spouse. However, financial infidelity can be considered another form of cheating to some. In some instances, cheating on a spouse financially can ultimately end in divorce, which may leave some wondering what can constitute financial infidelity.

Perhaps the most prevalent form of financial infidelity, hiding money from a spouse, can cross the line for some relationships. It generally involves more than spare change, and the money may even be stashed away in a bank account. Even for spouses who otherwise choose to maintain separate bank accounts for various discretionary spending or bills, money purposely hidden is usually a different story.

Purposely misleading a spouse about skyrocketing debt is also fairly common. According to a psychologist, hiding rapidly escalating debt is involved with roughly 20 percent of instances of financial infidelity. This may also include a spouse who lies about the price of an expensive item by saying that it costs less than it actually does in order to convince the other that a purchase is sound. However, this may only increase the debt problem and any animosity between a married couple.

A study by the National Endowment for Financial Education recently demonstrated that about 33 percent of people who have combined their money with a spouse or partner have engaged in financial infidelity. Additionally, 10 percent of those in the study cited financial infidelity as the cause of their divorce. Financial motives for a divorce might be a theme that some in Massachusetts are familiar with, and in those instances, it may be of particular importance to pay careful attention to the financial aspect of the divorce settlement. In instances when mutual agreement is not possible, a third party mediator is often a valid option to help the parties arrive at a fair settlement.

Source: Forbes, "6 Money Secrets Your Significant Other Could Be Hiding From You", Marisa Torrieri, Aug. 5, 2014

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