Think the top cause of divorces and breakups is infidelity? Think again.
It turns out that financial unfaithfulness is one of the leading reasons for relationship problems.
Yet more than 80 percent of married people copped to hiding financial information from a spouse - be it a credit card balance, a purchase, or a separate bank account, according to a survey by CESI Debt Solutions. In a poll by the National Endowment for Financial Education, 16 percent of those who lied about finances said their money problems resulted in divorce.
Perhaps the best Valentine's Day gift for your significant other is not spending money on that box of chocolates.
Even better, perhaps you can take the time to sit down and talk about solutions to your debt - such as filing for bankruptcy in Tennessee. It's not the most romantic conversation, but it just might save your marriage.
While any amount of financial difficulty can put a strain on a relationship, it's hidden debt - for instance, when one spouse makes secret purchases or maintains a separate credit card - that takes the biggest toll.
Time and time again, Tennessee bankruptcy lawyers have seen couples become buried under a sea of debt because one partner kept secrets instead of seeking help.
As time goes on, the secret-keeping partner's financial troubles may snowball as they attempt to manage finances alone. Bearing the burden can leave them feeling overwhelmed, depressed, and lonely. Meanwhile, the spouse being lied to often knows something is up - and when the secret is out, they are likely to be resentful, angry, and suspicious of their partner's activities.
In worst case scenarios, people have opened credit card accounts in their spouse's name. However, just being married can make you liable for your partner's debt in most states, whether or not your name is affixed to their bills.
While there's no easy solution to existing debt, talking about the problem is the only way to make progress. Living in denial is no way to spend a marriage.
Even if one person handles the finances, both partners have the right to know how the couple's money is being spent and saved. Two heads are better than one, and handling a stressful financial situation together - as opposed to separately - can provide the combination of brainpower and moral support needed to get through a difficult time.
When lowering debt requires much more than simply rearranging a budget, Tennessee bankruptcy may be a solution.
In the meantime, here's some advice from CNN Money on preventing and dealing with problems money in a relationship.
Get Your Priorities Straight
Engaged? Make time to discuss your current financial situations and future financial goals as a couple before you walk down the aisle. Marriage complicates financial matters. While it's definitely possible to overcome debt together, most people never overcome financial incompatibility. This is the time to make sure you are on the same page about financial priorities, as your money moves as individuals will affect you both once you're legally married.
Look for Financial Red Flags
Debt has a tendency to keep growing. The sooner you both acknowledge a problem forming, the sooner you can figure out how to solve it. Have you noticed your partner relying on credit lately? Are new bills showing up, some for purchases you didn't know about? Are there shopping bags in the closet? Does your spouse get irritable when you ask questions about your finances? You may need to stage a financial intervention. While many people hide their financial problems because they're scared or ashamed, bankruptcy can often eliminate debts in the toughest of situations.
Hold Family Money Meetings
Prevention is the best medicine. If you make a point from the beginning of your marriage to go over your finances together once every month, quarter, or whatever timeline works for you, an incentive for honesty is created. It's fine if one partner handles financial tasks, but both should be aware of how the money is being spent. One way to start is by getting copies of your free annual credit report.
More Blog Entries:
Consumers in Denial About Credit Card Debt May Find Help With Tennessee Bankruptcy: January 11, 2012
Tips for Refreshing Finances in 2012 with Tennessee Bankruptcy: January 1, 2012
80 Percent of Spouses Lie About Spending, Chris Friedrich, CreditCards.com
Financial Infidelity: Catching a Cheating Spouse, Jessica Dickler, CNNMoney