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Study sheds light on how much financial dishonesty spouses accept

Infidelity in a marriage is a deal-breaker for many spouses. They can forgive most anything except their spouse cheating on them. Part of what hurts the most about infidelity is the lies that usually accompany it.

However, what if your spouse is lying to you or keeping a secret involving finances? Over a quarter of people in a recent survey by GOBankingRates said they would at least contemplate divorcing their spouse if they lied to them about money. Specifically, over 27 percent of the 500 Americans surveyed said that.

Of course, that still leaves a significant majority who wouldn't consider ending their marriage over financial dishonesty. However, it shows how important being able to trust your spouse when it comes to money is for many people.

A major source of financial dishonesty involves hidden debt. Respondents varied regarding how much hidden debt they'd (hypothetically) accept if they learned about it.

  • Younger adults (those in the 25-to-34 range) had the highest tolerance for hidden debt -- a little over $18,000.
  • Women generally were willing to tolerate a little more than men (almost $15,500 and $14,400 respectively).
  • When asked if they had ever lied to a spouse about finances, 22 percent admitted that they had. The lies typically involved how much debt they had or their spending habits in general.
  • Thirteen percent of women admitted to lying about spending, while just 6 percent of men did.

While financial issues often lead to marital discord and sometimes divorce, people too often don't find out their spouses have been lying to them about money -- either hiding money they have or not disclosing how much debt they're in -- until they're in the midst of a divorce.

While divorcing spouses are required to fully and accurately disclose all assets and debts, if you believe that yours may not be doing that, it's essential to share your concerns with your attorney. They can recommend ways to uncover hidden assets and debts. You need to know what assets you may be entitled to and what debts you may be partially responsible for in a divorce.

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