It’s no secret that money problems are one of the leading causes of divorce. For many couples, that includes financial infidelity. While marital infidelity is more widely discussed, financial infidelity, where one partner hides accounts or spending habits from the other, can be just as devastating. There are studies estimating that as many as 41% of adults in Louisiana and throughout the United States admit to hiding money issues from their partner.

With most financial information being handled online, it’s easier than ever to hide accounts. There are no paper trails for credit or savings accounts, which makes it harder to know if your spouse has a serious spending problem such as a gambling or shopping addiction. In the past, statements arriving in the mail would provide accountability. Now, however, by the time such secrets come to light, it could result in a huge mess that is difficult and painful to sort out.

That was the case with one couple. The husband’s secret started out innocently enough: just one hidden loan of several thousand dollars on a business account. Before he knew it, his debt had skyrocketed to over $20,000. Eventually, he became so overwhelmed that he realized he had to tell his wife. She was, of course, shocked and felt betrayed. She felt resentful about paying back the debt that was hidden from her. They were able to work through the betrayal and save their marriage, but many couples aren’t that fortunate. If a gambler or spending addict isn’t able to or doesn’t want to change their ways, divorce may be the only option.

If you have discovered financial infidelity and are facing divorce, a lawyer with experience in family law may be able to help you decide on the best course of action. The issues that arise in cases of financial infidelity, where one spouse has spent more than their share of marital assets, can be complicated. Having an advocate to work for you may make a big difference in your outcome.