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What Is the Difference Between Financial Infidelity and Marital Misconduct?


If you ask divorced people what caused the breakdown of their marriages, they will usually tell you that it was money, lies, or both.  Another man or another woman entering the picture and stealing your spouse’s heart doesn’t help, but when a marriage breaks down because of an extramarital affair, the affair is only a symptom of the problem, not the root cause.  The fact that your spouse lied hurts more than your spouse’s cheating, but the family courts are not in the business of awarding damages for hurt feelings.  They do, however, order people to pay compensation to people to whom they have caused financial harm.  From the perspective of the divorce court, marital misconduct is when one spouse intentionally depletes the value of the marital estate in the two-year period leading up to the divorce filing, so that his or her ex-spouse will get less money in the equitable distribution scheme.  Marital misconduct can include selling marital assets at a loss, titling assets in the names of family members or shell corporations, or spending large amounts of money on an affair partner.  From the court’s perspective, everything else is just tough luck.  The court is unlikely to punish your spouse for running up too many debts, but the best way to ensure that you don’t get stuck with too much of the debt that your ex racked up is to contact a Boca Raton divorce lawyer.

Lying About Debts Puts a Strain on Marriages, but So Does Telling the Truth About Them

According to a recent report on the Investment News website, more than a third of divorced people say that marital debts, lies about money, or both were major contributing factors to their divorce.  Most of them said that lies about money eroded trust in their marriage and that they only found out the full extent of their former spouses’ debt problems once the divorce was in progress.  These same couples also said that, during their marriages, the spouses would often become angry with each other about major purchases, even when they were honest with each other about how much they were spending.

Is Date Night a Harbinger of Divorce?

Among couples whose marriages fell apart because of financial stress, as opposed to, say, domestic violence or drug addiction, overspending, even when it was a mutual decision, led to the breakdown of the marriage.  Many of the couples surveyed said that, during their marriage, they would frequently spend money on travel and dining out with their spouse, even though both spouses knew that they could not afford it.  Of course, once the party is over, and once the divorce is final, the debt does not disappear.  The parties must agree on how to divide the marital debts, or the court must divide it at trial.

Contact Schwartz | White About Marital Debt and Divorce

A South Florida family law attorney can help you if debt ruined your marriage.  Contact Schwartz | White in Boca Raton, Florida about your case.



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