Hidden assets in marriage are more common than you think

If you’ve been married for any length of time, you are well aware that finances are one of the biggest sources of conflict in any relationship. Each of us relates to money in a different way. And if that relationship to money is vastly different than our spouse’s, it can be highly problematic.

For some, the imperfect solution is just to avoid talking about money, or to keep secrets from one another. In fact, hiding assets in a relationship is surprisingly common. According to a recent poll of U.S. adults married to or cohabitating with a partner, 19 percent of survey respondents admitted to hiding a credit, checking or savings account from their significant other. This means nearly one in five people have a secret source of funds that they don’t want their partner to know about.

If the amount of money in a secret account is small, the deception may not matter from a logistical standpoint (meaning it probably wouldn’t ruin a couple’s financial future). But the bigger issue is the deception itself, and the fact that money feels deeply personal in a way that few other things do. It is often a stand-in for our sense of security and safety, with associations that date back to childhood.

The takeaway here seems to be that hiding money/assets from a spouse is a behavior that could be far more damaging to the relationship than most people realize. But if this behavior does eventually lead to divorce, the financially faithful spouse needs to be vigilant about the risk of this behavior occurring again in the divorce.

Hiding assets is a fairly common practice in divorce, which is why it’s so important to work with a thorough and meticulous family law attorney. By conducting a complete audit and accounting of a couple’s personal and shared assets, an experienced attorney can usually determine if one spouse is trying to keep something separate for himself or herself.

If you are considering divorce and want to know more about the process of dividing assets in Wisconsin, feel free to visit our property division page.

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