Money lies that can threaten a marriage, impact a divorce

Money issues are at least one cause of over half of divorces. Whether it's accumulation of debt by one spouse, the strain of not being able to make ends meet or a large imbalance between spouses' individual assets and income, money is at the heart of a good deal of marital friction.

Deception often goes along with money issues. Sometimes a spouse's lies are discovered during the marriage -- leading to even more marital conflict. Too often, a spouse doesn't realize the true state of the couple's financial situation until they're in the midst of divorce. That can leave someone in a perilous financial situation.

Family law attorneys, financial planners and marriage counselors agree on some of the most common lies about money that they see in troubled marriages and divorces. These include:

-- Lies about income and assets. This can involve spouses saying that they earn and/or have more or less than they do. Someone may exaggerate these things to seem more attractive and responsible. Those trying to hide money may understate their income and wealth.

-- Credit score. As with income, people may exaggerate their creditworthiness to impress their partners and assure them that they're responsible. However, when the couple applies for a mortgage or other joint credit, the truth comes out.

-- The health of the business. When one spouse owns a business, he or she may not be honest about how well or badly it's doing. If the other spouse isn't a co-owner, it's not uncommon not to take an interest. However, a business failure can impact personal finances as well as the divorce settlement, if things get that far.

-- Spending habits. Too many spouses find out the hard way that their significant other has a penchant for shoes, golf equipment, designer suits or pricey salons that they didn't know about. These things can lead to serious credit card debt if the couple can't afford them. They can also lead to serious marital battles.

Many of these lies aren't malicious. A spouse may just be embarrassed to admit the truth. However, the more honestly a couple can discuss money prior to the marriage, the fewer problems they'll have later on. If you wisely decide to get a prenuptial agreement, that's an excellent time to discuss your individual credit and monetary health, your spending and saving habits, debts and your financial goals for the future.

Source: WGRZ, "Confessions of a marriage counselor: 6 money lies that wreck marriages," Aja McClanahan, Feb. 14, 2017

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