Money makes the world go around. It also causes too-many-to-count problems in a marriage. I have always recommended that women be financially independent by having their own bank accounts, file their own tax returns and try to keep as many assets as they can separate from their husband. But apparently that’s getting a lot harder to do.
This might sound way to radical when we were led to believe that marriage is based on love and trust. But, too many women, and some men too, have been left high when love flies out the window and all that’s left in a nasty divorce battle. Anger and hurt can make us do things we never thought we could do.
On that cheery note I wanted to share an article that Veronica Dagher, a writer for The Wall Street Journal, wrote today. She agrees that couples do hide money from each other, whether to spend it on extramarital mischief or keep from sharing it in a divorce. Her article warns hiders that electronic discovery is making it a lot easier to uncover all that covert activity. This is important to know.
Divorce lawyers and forensic experts are employing new strategies of their own. Instead of having to sift through reams of paper records to find irregularities they’re now able to used advanced search tools to analyze thousands of digital bank statements, credit-card bills and other files in the blink of an eye.
Many spouses who think they’re being clever forget one simple fact: All of that electronic activity leaves traces. Experts say many people assume they have permanently deleted an email, Facebook post or other communication—when that’s often not the case.
“Realize that any time you have an electronic device on, information can be saved and it can be later tracked,” says Michael Arkfeld, a Phoenix-based educator in the field of electronic discovery.
To get an idea of just how widespread financial mischief is, consider a couple of surveys. According to the National Endowment for Financial Education, 31% of U.S. adults who combined assets with a spouse or partner say they have been deceptive about money, and 58% of these adults say they hid cash from their partner or spouse.
Love ain’t it grand? Read the article so you protect yourself if the you-know-what hits the fan.
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