The money secrets most likely to break down a marriage

Christel Deskins

“For richer, for poorer” or “what’s mine is yours, and what’s yours is mine” are common commitments we hear when a couple gets married. However with societal taboo on money and personal savings or spendings still very much alive in Britain, is it any surprise marriages are suffering as a […]

“For richer, for poorer” or “what’s mine is yours, and what’s yours is mine” are common commitments we hear when a couple gets married.

However with societal taboo on money and personal savings or spendings still very much alive in Britain, is it any surprise marriages are suffering as a direct result of financial secrets?

Divorce law experts at Hawkins Family Law have analysed and categorised their consultation data, to reveal the most common financial spends that sadly lead to irretrievable damage or relationship breakdown.

8 biggest financial secrets causing divorce in the UK

  1. Gambling
  2. Sexual affairs (dating subscriptions, dominatrix sites, escort agencies)
  3. Gifts/lifestyle with secret partner
  4. Hidden debt
  5. Inheritance income
  6. Holiday spending
  7. Business investment
  8. Work pay rises

Joanna Hawkins, managing partner at Hawkins Family Law said: “Unfortunately, it is common for clients that come to us seeking divorce or financial advice after a relationship breakdown where money had been an issue within that relationship, to discover that the issues often stem from one party concealing the true extent of their expenditure alongside hiding what exactly they are spending money on. It is not uncommon for this spending to have spiralled out of control.

“However, just because a party spends a lot of money from a joint bank account without the agreement of their partner; this in itself is not a reason for a divorce to be granted by the Court. There are five ‘facts’ to choose from when applying for a divorce, and such behaviour as outlined above could be used as an example of unreasonable behaviour.

“To divorce a partner because of gambling or other financial deceit, one party would have to prove that this action has caused irretrievable damage to the marriage and that they find it intolerable to live together. There is a fine line between making sure that the examples of unreasonable behaviour are strong enough to persuade the Court that a divorce should be granted, yet at the same time ensuring that the reasons given are not so strong or slanderous as to incite or increase any existing acrimony between the couple. Therefore, we would recommend that you speak to a specialist lawyer, so that we can discuss and consider all the options available, based on your individual circumstances.”

So how do you talk about finances honestly with your partner?

Relationship expert, James Preece, shares five practical tips to address financial secrets like gambling directly with your partner if you feel they are keeping something from you:

  • Schedule a good time and find a solution for issues together calmly, remembering that you are a team
  • Don’t jump to conclusions or make accusations, they will only get defensive. If you have concerns, raise them first and let them give an explanation
  • Update a will, set a budget plan and understand future finances. Gambling itself is a prime example of an attempt at a quick fix to find money to resolve bigger financial issues at home, hence keeping it a secret
  • Consider counselling to resolve trust issues from hidden finances and to help you grow stronger
  • Sometimes people gamble as they seek a thrill when they are bored. If this is how they see the relationship, then it’s time to reflect, reboot and plan new adventures together
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