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Can You Sue For Financial Infidelity?

* I generally write using the pronouns he/him when referring to narcissists, but females are just as likely to be narcissists or exhibit narcissistic traits. So please don't think just because article uses the word him or he that it could not be a woman in that same role.

The idea of financial infidelity has gained traction in recent years. People who previously had no idea whether their spouse would conceal assets or debts from them now fully understand how important financial transparency is to a happy marriage. But Can You Sue For Financial Infidelity?

Can A Spouse Be Sued For Financial Infidelity?

Your trust in your spouse and the relationship may be destroyed if you learn that your spouse has been financially unfaithful.

And, if financial infidelity has led you to file for divorce, you might be wondering if you can sue for the damage caused by your spouse’s secret spending. 

In this article, we’ll walk you through the process and answer any questions you may have about the proceedings involved with financial infidelity.

What Is Financial Infidelity?

Couples with pooled finances commit financial infidelity when they lie to one another about money. Relationships can become tense and difficult due to financial infidelity, and if the issue cannot be resolved as a couple, the relationship may fail.

There are many ways financial infidelity can manifest in a relationship. Some examples include:

  • Hiding cash.
  • Lying about how they earn and keeping more for themselves.
  • Having secret bank accounts, loans, or credit cards.
  • Making significant purchases without informing their partner.
  • Racking up debts in secret.
  • Hiding an addiction to spending or gambling.
  • Taking money from savings, investment plans, retirement or college funds without consulting their spouse.
  • Lying about the cost of significant purchases.

Can You Sue For Financial Infidelity?

You can sue your spouse for financial infidelity; however, there are some factors that can affect the outcome of the final verdict.

You may be able to argue before the courts that since you were unaware of the debt and it solely served your spouse, it isn’t a marital property that can be divided if your spouse surreptitiously opened an account and ran up debt while having an affair or compulsively buying for their personal purposes.

However, there’s a considerable likelihood that you’ll have to contribute to the repayment of any debts your spouse accrued while paying for your household’s utilities, groceries, or your children’s needs.

The Signs Of Financial Infidelity

Can A Spouse Be Sued For Financial Infidelity?

It’s no secret that hiding debt and overspending is becoming increasingly easy to do. Without analyzing your partner’s spending and your joint accounts, there’s no way to know for sure that they are guilty of financial irresponsibility.

However, there are a few telltale signs that might indicate that they are hiding something:

  • Being defensive – Your partner refuses to discuss financial matters, trying to change the topic or having a significant mood change when it’s brought up.
  • Being secretive – Your partner might start acting secretive when it comes to bills, bank accounts, or anything else involving their finances. For example, they might try and hide their credit card from you, or rush to the front door when mail is delivered.
  • Frequent withdrawals – You may start noticing significant cash withdrawals from your joint account on a regular basis.
  • Increasingly lavish lifestyle – Your partner is spending more money on luxury items, like vacations, gifts, or electronics.
  • Removing your name from accounts – They may have removed your name from a joint account that you own together without your consent.
  • An unexpected change in income – If you notice your partner’s income is lower than usual, they might be putting money from their salary into a secret account.

Financial Infidelity And Divorce

It’s easier to forgive some forms of financial infidelity than others, but ultimately, it’s up to you whether or not you decide to proceed with the divorce.

While stealing your identity doesn’t compare to a shopping addiction, if it affects you negatively and your partner is showing no signs of wanting to change, separating may be the best thing for both of you.

When you find out that your spouse has been purposefully concealing assets from you, you’ll want to take all required action, perhaps even working with a forensic accountant to find the hidden accounts and assets.

If you are unaware of all the assets that make up your marital estate, you cannot ask for a fair split of them. Finding hidden assets will be a crucial step in ensuring a just outcome.

The worth of your marital estate may be reduced as a result of hidden debts, and the balances of the different debt accounts that you and your spouse must divide and settle as part of your divorce may go up.

Talking with your lawyer about financial infidelity can help you better plan for a future divorce that might involve financial issues.

Preventing Financial Infidelity

By maintaining control over your funds, you may prevent financial infidelity in one of the easiest ways possible. Knowing how your finances typically operate will enable you to see any potential problems at their earliest stages.

This is crucial if you want to ensure that you can handle any problems that might arise. Making sure that each spouse in a marriage or partnership has equitable access to money is another important step.

Finding a balance that works best for your relationship can differ from couple to couple, so it’s crucial to do your research.

It will be easier to avoid financial infidelity if there are shared bank accounts, credit cards, and expenses. Financial infidelity may be less likely if one partner is aware that the other has access to all they do financially.

Final Thoughts

Financial infidelity can be devastating, and if it can’t be worked through as a couple, divorce is often the best option. To make sure you get everything you’re entitled to and to avoid financial ruin, consult with a divorce lawyer and discuss your options.

With the right evidence and forensic financial analysis, you should be able to leave your spouse without the burden of their debt.

Emergency Numbers

Rape Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN) is the nation’s largest organization fighting sexual violence: (800) 656-HOPE / (800) 810-7440 (TTY)

988 Mental Health Emergency Hotline: Calling 988 will connect you to a crisis counselor regardless of where you are in the United States.

911 Emergency

The National Runaway Safeline: 800-RUNAWAY (800-786-2929)

Self Abuse Finally Ends (S.A.F.E)

American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, Trauma & Child Abuse Resource Center

Domestic Violence Shelters & Resources

Futures Without Violence

National Center for Victims of Crime

National Coalition Against Domestic Violence

National Network to End Domestic Violence

National Sexual Violence Resource Center

Prevent Child Abuse America

Stalking Prevention, Awareness, and Resource Center (SPARC)

National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) HelpLine: 1-800-950-NAMI, or text “HELPLINE” to 62640. Both services are available between 10 a.m. and 10 p.m. ET, Monday–Friday

National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-7233

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255); www.suicidepreventionlifeline.orgOr, just dial 988

Suicide Prevention, Awareness, and Support: www.suicide.org

Crisis Text Line: Text REASON to 741741 (free, confidential and 24/7). In English and Spanish

Self-Harm Hotline: 1-800-DONT CUT (1-800-366-8288)

Family Violence Helpline: 1-800-996-6228

American Association of Poison Control Centers: 1-800-222-1222

National Council on Alcoholism & Drug Dependency: 1-800-622-2255

LGBTQ Hotline: 1-888-843-4564

National Maternal Mental Health Hotline: 1-833-TLC-MAMA (1-833-852-6262)

The Trevor Project: 1-866-488-7386 or text “START” to 678678. Standard text messaging rates apply. Available 24/7/365. (Provides crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer & questioning—LGBTQ—young people under 25.)

The SAGE LGBT Elder Hotline connects LGBT older people and caretakers with friendly responders. 1-877-360-LGBT (5428)

The Trans Lifeline is staffed by transgender people for transgender people:
1-877-565-8860 (United States)
1-877-330-6366 (Canada)

Veterans Crisis Line: https://www.veteranscrisisline.net

International Suicide Prevention Directory: findahelpline.com

The StrongHearts Native Helpline is a confidential and anonymous culturally appropriate domestic violence and dating violence helpline for Native Americans, available every day from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. CT. Call 1-844-762-8483.

‘Find a Therapist’ Online Directories


UK & Republic of Ireland

  • Emergency: 112 or 999
  • Hotline: +44 (0) 8457 90 90 90 (UK – local rate)
  • Hotline: +44 (0) 8457 90 91 92 (UK minicom)
  • Hotline: 1850 60 90 90 (ROI – local rate)
  • Hotline: 1850 60 90 91 (ROI minicom)
  • YourLifeCounts.org: https://yourlifecounts.org/find-help/

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