One of the leading causes of gray divorce in New Jersey and elsewhere is financial infidelity. A gray divorce is one involving individuals who are over the age of 55. Financial infidelity occurs when one partner attempts to undermine, control or deceive the other financially.
Examples of financial infidelity
Financial infidelity may occur if your partner opens a bank account without your knowledge or opens a credit account in your name without telling you. Alternatively, your spouse may fail to disclose a gambling debt or fail to tell you about a credit card debt accrued before the marriage.
Financial infidelity and traditional infidelity
In some cases, financial infidelity may occur as an attempt to shield you from the fact that your partner is cheating. For example, your spouse may open a bank account, transfer funds into it, and use it to pay for vacations with a secret partner. The funds in that secret account may also be used to pay child support for a child you might not know exists.
How infidelity impacts a divorce
In a divorce settlement, you may be entitled to a portion of any assets acquired after the marriage took place. Therefore, if your spouse has a secret brokerage account, you may be entitled to a portion of its value. Of course, if your spouse racks up debt in your name or you have cosigned for a debt, you may be liable for paying that balance. This may be true even if your spouse is ordered to pay the debt as part of a settlement as the terms of a divorce decree don’t bind a creditor.
Regardless of why your marriage ends, you may be entitled to a share of marital property and spousal support. If you share children with your spouse, you may also be entitled to child support payments to cover the cost of feeding, clothing and otherwise meeting their basic needs.