CNBC recently reported nearly half of those surveyed don’t know what their spouse spends on holiday shopping. A separate survey by Quicken found that while 7 in 10 couples had agreed on a holiday spending limit, about half say they deceived their spouse about actual holiday spending.
Some couples choose to co-mingle all finances after marriage, while others are content to keep largely separate finances, and perhaps share a joint account for household expenses. Either arrangement can work; the key is communication.
But in some cases shoppers may purposefully keep their spouse in the dark. And holiday overspending can trigger relationship and financial problems. The National Endowment for Financial Education reports 75 percent of spouses report financial deception has had a negative effect on their relationship.
Types of Financial Deceit in Relationships
A recent study published in the Journal of Financial Therapy found 27 percent of people were guilty of financial infidelity. Common deceit included:
- Hiding credit card statements
- Concealing debt
- Having secret savings or credit cards
- Lying about purchase price
- Pretending a new purchase is an old one
In some cases, spouses have filed for bankruptcy without telling a partner, which can have devastating financial consequences.
Financial Deceit and Divorce
For a spouse who has long dealt with financial irresponsibility, the holidays can be the final straw.
Our East Brunswick divorce lawyers have written recently about financial preparations for divorce in New Jersey. Such research and preparation is even more critical when financial dishonesty or infidelity are a cause of separation.
You should obtain a copy of your credit report from the nation’s three main credit-reporting services (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion). By law, you are entitled to a free credit report from each of the bureaus on an annual basis. As a practical matter, it is often faster and easier to sign up for a low-cost service like freecreditreport.com on a temporary basis.
Your credit report will list all debt in your name, as well as debt shared with a spouse. This includes mortgage debt, credit card debit and installment debt, such as automobile loans. The information will include total amount owed, total credit line (credit available) as well as loan status (current, default, closed, etc.). It’s important to understand it will not list debt carried only in a spouse’s name.
This information can be brought to your divorce lawyer or your chosen attorney can help you obtain it. But requesting your credit report on a regular basis is a great way to avoid becoming victim of fraud or deceit (whether by a spouse or someone else). Divorcing spouses will also want to take special care in separating their finances, and your credit report will tell you what joint accounts need to be converted or closed to avoid financial entanglement with a former spouse following divorce. This is a critical final step in making sure you will not be held responsible for a former spouse’s future financial decisions.
Call Rozin|Golinder Law, LLC today for a free and confidential consultation.