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Three Common Money Lies That Lead to Divorce

Published December 30, 2019

According to marriage counselors and industry experts, financial disagreements are a top reason that couples seek counseling or eventually decide to divorce. When partners do not share the same values about financial planning or spending habits, the relationship can become strained and make communication difficult. Sometimes, lying about financial matters to your partner may be tempting in order to avoid uncomfortable conversations, but these lies can ultimately erode the relationship and lead to divorce. Here are three common lies partners may tell one another that can wreak havoc on a marriage:

1. “My Credit is Great!”

If you suffer from bad credit, it can be tempting to hide this from your partner, especially early on in the relationship. However, major commitment milestones often hinge on disclosing credit scores, such as applying for a mortgage or car loan. Not only does this hinder your partner’s chances of getting approved for joint financing, but it also may communicate your financial irresponsibility to your spouse.

In Oregon, you may be liable for your partner’s debt that is assigned to you during the divorce proceeding. It is crucial to have an open, honest discussion about the credit scores of both parties early on in a relationship and to periodically assess both of your credit scores while engaging in a collaborative conversation throughout your marriage in order to avoid the path to divorce.

2. “My Online Shopping Habit is Under Control.”

The ease of shopping online can quickly become a slippery slope. A spouse can secretly and quickly accrue a large amount of debt, plunging household finances into chaos. According to Luis Rosa, a certified financial planner who specializes in working with couples, the partner of someone who has hidden spending habits begins to “wonder what else the other is lying about, and it puts a big dent in the trust, which can lead to serious problems down the line, like divorce.” To avoid breaking your partner’s trust, marriage experts recommend setting a monthly allowance each partner to use without consulting each other, giving each spouse the illusion of financial freedom while keeping the joint finances intact.

3. “These Are My Only Assets.”

This lie can take two main forms. A spouse may claim that they are making regular contributions to a retirement fund or savings account, but perhaps these payments stopped months or even years ago. Of course, a lie like this could devastate a couple’s plans to retire together if one partner suddenly realizes their spouse has no means of support.

In other cases, a spouse may have hidden accounts or valuables they do not disclose to their partner. If the spouse discovers these hidden assets, there could be feelings of betrayal or deep hurt. Surely, there are many reasons a spouse may choose to keep some assets hidden, but marriage counselors advise that this may be a symptom of deeper trust or communication issues within the relationship.

Communication is Key

These lies do not automatically put a marriage on the path to divorce. Checking in often with your spouse about your financial status and values can prevent larger issues from arising down the line.


If money issues have led to your considering divorce, it’s important to meet with an experienced Oregon divorce lawyer who can help you assess all aspects of the process. Lee Tyler Family Law, P.C. will help you determine your divorce goals and build a strategy for getting there. For more information on divorce or if you are ready to speak to a Portland divorce attorney, contact Lee Tyler Family Law, P.C. today at (503) 233-8868.

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