As divorce rates continue to rise for older couples, financial issues, including financial dishonesty or infidelity, are often cited as factors in divorce in New Jersey. However, when it comes to gray divorce, financial dishonesty can be of particular concern as the spouses are nearer to or in retirement age and have less time to recover financially at this stage of their lives.
Understanding financial infidelity
Like one spouse having an affair and keeping it from the other spouse, there is dishonesty involved in financial infidelity. Even when the person committing financial infidelity is not doing it intentionally, their behavior can affect both parties. Some of the things that you can look for to recognize financial infidelity include:
- Secret shopping trips and expenses
- Changes to passwords for online accounts or to statement delivery methods
- Sudden change in the way money is handled
- Cash-only spending supported by frequent ATM withdrawals
- Forged signatures on financial documents
The risks of financial infidelity for a gray divorce
A major part of the divorce settlement negotiations during gray divorce will focus on setting up a financially stable future. When financial infidelity has occurred, the negotiations might be more challenging as spouses suddenly discover that there are fewer funds to divide.
Additionally, the expectations for retirement might need to change, leaving one or both spouses in precarious situations. As there is less time to then prepare for retirement, each spouse might find themselves struggling to make a sustainable, realistic financial plan. This can have an emotional impact as well since each spouse will now have to face this instability alone after the divorce. For some, this might mean a greater reliance on family members and public benefits.
If you suspect that your spouse might be committing financial infidelity, begin preparing to protect your interests. Gather copies of all financial documents as well as credit reports and tax returns and make a realistic financial plan. You might also consider meeting with a financial professional to help you better understand your financial situation.