During our last post, we began a discussion about the concept of financial cheating and the ways this behavior may influence one’s divorce process. We asked readers to think of financial cheating as “any time you have lied to your spouse about any significant financial matter or any time you have hidden a significant financial matter from your spouse. It goes without saying that if your spouse has hidden or lied about any significant financial matter that this behavior can be considered financial cheating as well,” for the purposes of this discussion.
We also noted that hiding information or providing misleading information about your finances during the divorce process is not just financial cheating, it can be considered a crime. It is therefore important that you “come clean” about any hidden assets, etc. that you may have knowledge of. In addition, it is important to alert your attorney to any suspicions you have that your spouse may be engaging in financial cheating, as constructing a divorce settlement without factoring this information in may leave you with far less than you deserve.
Whether the primary issue is previously unknown debts or assets, the information must come to light and be dealt with by you, your spouse and your attorneys. Depending on the nature of the debt or asset involved, the instance of financial cheating may dramatically impact the structure of your divorce settlement.
For example, if your spouse hid a real estate purchase from you and that purchase is expected to appreciate significantly over time, you may choose to own that piece of property instead of keeping your current home. Financial cheating is not a matter that should be kept secret due to shame or sneaky tendencies. It is a matter that needs to be brought to light and dealt with appropriately during the divorce process.
Source: TIME, “7 Ways Couples Cheat on Each Other — Financially,” Molly Triffin, May 19, 2015