Posts Tagged ‘marriage’


Monday, March 4th, 2013

Love, honor and be financially responsible, that’s what. When you say “I do,” you agree to obligations of “mutual respect, fidelity and support” toward each other.

No one, even in writing their own vows, ever says, “and be financially responsible to you.” National Public Radio reported that 87% of married people admit to lying to their spouses about what they spend. The report included really funny instances of cover-ups.

But you owe your spouse, by law, a fiduciary duty, a duty of “highest good faith and fair dealing.” Who knew? Usually you don’t learn that until you are in the midst of a divorce when you are obliged, as part of that fiduciary obligation, to disclose in writing to your spouse all your assets, all your debts, all your income and all your expenses, including anything held in someone else’s name. You cannot get a divorce unless you declare in writing under penalty of perjury you have done that.

And there can be stiff penalties for concealment. One woman did not tell about her lottery winnings. The judge did not just divide that money, he gave it all to the deceived husband.

Lawyers used to think the obligation ended when you separated, so it was ok to lie, cheat and hide whatever you could get away with. Legislation has specified that the obligation does not end until all property is identified, valued and divided.

And during marriage, a spouse is entitled to access to the financial records of the other spouse’s business and information “affecting any transaction which concerns the community property.

Is that more of a partnership than you expected?