Photo via Evil Erin

Photo via Evil Erin

Although no one gets married with the goal of getting divorced, between 40-50% of all couples end up calling it quits. While many speculate the core reasons about why this statistic is so high, there is no doubt that the emotional and financial fallout can be devastating.

One of the more damaging issues in an unstable marriage is financial infidelity. According to a poll from the National Foundation for Financial Education, 33% of spouses admit to hiding money, making secret purchases, and other financial deceptions. Even though this doesn’t seem as damaging as a sexual infidelity, over 70% of couples who said that they had hid money or lied about their finances said that it damaged their marriage relationship.

Financial infidelity is a real issue, often stemmed by embarrassment about how a person has spent their money. It can be a warning sign of deeper issues such as a gambling addiction, physical infidelity, or manic spending. By understanding how to spot if your spouse is secretly making financial decisions you might not approve of, you might be able to keep poor financial choices and their underlying problems from ruining your marriage.

Finding Hidden Receipts

People who are being financial deceptive often make sure that the receipts for their purchases are tucked away neatly – often in a garbage can. But, if you stumble across receipts that are clearly being hidden (like in a secret box in the basement), it’s likely that there are purchases on there that you haven’t talked about as a couple.

Photo via Sean MacEntee

Photo via Sean MacEntee

Secret or Multiple Credit Cards

If you’re the person getting the mail, you might notice that you’re getting a lot of thick, unmarked envelopes. Often, these envelopes contain new credit cards which may be used to make purchases that can’t be seen by both you and your spouse.

Cash Withdrawals

The goal of someone who is being financially deceptive is to get access to money that you can’t see. One of the easiest ways to do this is by making a consistent series of cash withdrawals in amounts that might not trigger your red flag. If you are seeing ATM withdrawals for $40-$60 at a time over a long period of time, your spouse may be saving up cash for something that they don’t want you to know about.

Missing Items

Another way that a spouse can make money secretly is by liquidating items piecemeal so that you don’t notice what’s happening. Items of modest value (like silverware, movies, or technology devices) may start to go missing.

Money Defensive

Often, a spouse may become very defensive or aggressive when the topic of money is brought up. They often question your trust and seem disproportionately upset when questioned about purchases that seem unusual.

Photo via Franc

Photo via Franc

Purchasing Expensive New Items

Especially if your spouse is planning on filing for divorce, they will want to have as little liquid cash on hand as possible. The more liquid assets, the more likely they will have to share them during the divorce. By purchasing large, expensive items or trips, that is less money they may have to share with you.

What to Do If Your Spouse is Being Financially Deceptive

In order to save your marriage, it is necessary for you to confront your spouse about his or her strange spending habits. Get ahold of a receipt or credit card statement from a secret account. Then talk to them about what they’re doing. If they remain unwilling to talk about their behavior, or act in a way that seems dangerous or aggressive, it’s time to remove yourself from the situation.

In addition, you may need to do additional digging before you can get the kind of evidence you need to prove that your spouse isn’t being financially faithful. Hiring an investigator like Lauth Investigations, Intl. is a great way to shed some light on your real financial picture and get the outside help that your spouse may need to stop their unhealthy money management.