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Impact of financial infidelity in gray divorces

On Behalf of | May 22, 2023 | Family Law

Marriages are built on trust, love and shared goals, with financial transparency often considered a cornerstone of a successful life partnership. However, a growing phenomenon in South Carolina known as financial infidelity has been causing relationship rifts and contributing to the rising trend of gray divorces.

Understanding financial infidelity

The term “gray divorce” refers to the rising trend of divorces among couples aged 50 and older. Financial infidelity is hiding financial information, spending money without a partner’s knowledge or maintaining secret accounts or debts. It involves breaches of trust and can take various forms, such as hiding income, making major purchases without discussion or engaging in covert financial activities.

While financial disagreements are common in relationships, financial infidelity goes beyond disagreements to involve intentional deception.

Factors contributing to financial infidelity

Individuals may experience a greater desire for independence, including financial autonomy, as they age. This newfound freedom can lead some individuals to engage in financial infidelity to maintain control over their own resources.

Disparities in income within a relationship can create power imbalances and increase the likelihood of financial infidelity. The partner with higher earnings may feel entitled to make financial decisions without consulting their spouse, leading to resentment and mistrust.

Retirement or inheritance can trigger conflicts related to financial decision-making. Couples who are unprepared for these transitions may resort to financial infidelity as a coping mechanism or a means of asserting control.

Consequences of financial infidelity on late-life divorces

Financial infidelity erodes trust, leading to emotional distress, feelings of betrayal and damaged self-esteem. In a gray divorce, these emotional repercussions can be particularly profound, as individuals may have invested several decades in the relationship.

Financial infidelity can complicate divorce proceedings, especially when one partner discovers hidden assets or debts. Uncovering financial deception often requires forensic accounting and may result in prolonged legal battles.

Furthermore, gray divorces can have substantial financial implications, particularly for partners who may have relied on shared retirement savings and benefits. Dividing assets and starting anew during retirement can significantly impact financial security in later years.

Coping with financial infidelity in a gray divorce

Financial infidelity can be particularly damaging for older couples. Former life partners have limited time to recover and their age may not be conducive to achieving financial success. Maintaining open communication channels and safeguarding your interests is imperative to mitigating any negative outcomes.