Problems with money and other financial issues have caused many a marriage to crash and burn. The problem is exacerbated when one spouse is financially naive and unaware of the family’s finances.
According to the Journal of Consumer Research, if one spouse takes full control of the bank accounts and other financial matters, it can create all sorts of marital discord.
It may seem natural to assign marital tasks according to interest and aptitude, but when it comes to your money, both spouses need to be involved. Otherwise, if the spouse who handles the finances dies or files for divorce, the financially naive spouse is at high risk.
Ignorance is not bliss with finances
Do you know how much is in your retirement accounts? Could you access them quickly if necessary, e.g., if your spouse files for divorce?
Could your spouse have been secretly funding an account in only their name? When was the last time you ran both of your credit reports?
If those questions stump you, you could find yourself in dire straits if your spouse files for divorce. Taking a backseat approach to your finances could allow your spouse to squirrel away joint marital funds for their own purposes. They could bleed a retirement account to fund a secret addiction (or an affair).
What you need to know in the event of divorce
If you are financially unaware and face a divorce, your best option may be to hire a forensic accountant to examine the books of your marital finances. They will pore over the accounts and trace any suspicious withdrawals or transactions and ferret out any secret accounts your spouse may have opened in only their name.
Your Oakland County family law attorney may be able to offer some recommendations to help you get started.