How to protect yourself financially if your partner cheats

What's the biggest issue for partners? Staying 100 percent faithful. When I think about infidelity's impact on a marriage, my first reaction is: Where is the prenup? Unfortunately, most people don't get a prenup because they are afraid to talk about money or their financial expectations (and they live in a fantasyland and believe divorce will never knock on their door). Ah-ha: Herein lies the problem.

Marriage dissolution caused by infidelity is a very complicated issue, a tangled knot of age, assets, earning power, children, gender bias, abuse, shame, self-esteem. It is easier to circumnavigate a pileup on the Jersey Turnpike in whiteout conditions than sort out infidelity's emotions and consequences ... not to mention the serious anger that can surface when your partner has been unfaithful.

Betrayal brings out one's true character. Will that person seek revenge? Will the betrayed party use the children as pawns or confuse the children's best interests with their own anger? Will the partner with "the money" hold it hostage in order to get their needs met and abuse the injured party?

Sometimes, as we have witnessed in the public sphere, money isn't the real issue; it's power. Some couples are legally married but it's a business, not a marriage based on devotion, trust, and fidelity. In these cases, it's beneficial for both parties' agendas to stay together versus the better choice: ending the union. When Bill Clinton was unfaithful to Hillary, do you think they discussed the possibility of divorce, and decided it would be too big of a mess to untangle? Whether you're a politician or an average Joe, money—and children and pets—can be used as leverage.

The injured party feels powerless, understandably, even if the desire to reconcile is remote or nonexistent. Research pegs the divorce rate at 50 percent and shows that women suffer more financially than men after the divorce. A man's lifestyle tends to remain intact, while a woman's lifestyle takes a drastic turn downward.

How does one manage this impending storm if there isn't a prenup? The injured party has some leverage in the final legal documents, for instance, refusing to sign a divorce decree, might place you in the position of power. A formal separation agreement sometimes is helpful, has no downside, and helps clear the financial waters and protect the injured party from being further responsible for ongoing and newly acquired debts.

Make sure, even now, you know and understand everything about your joint finances, including expenses and debts. The less you know, the more vulnerable you are. Keeping your own, private account may also provide some peace of mind. And, even if you currently do not have a prenup, you can always get one that covers the same issues and disclosures now.

If you haven't had an honest talk about finances with your partner, it's not too late: Having the money chat is healthy at any stage if you want to have some control and value intimacy.

From The Financial Whisperer.

RELATED: Tax tips to use right now

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Tax tips from the Finance Collective
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Tax tips from the Finance Collective
"In the past I would typically contribute $1,000 and then direct my savings towards my Roth IRA. Once I maxed out my Roth IRA last year, which is $5,500 annually, I decided to increase my 401K contributions. Here's why:

-It's automatic; a 401K will automatically be withdrawn for every paycheck without testing your will power of getting paid, transferring money to a brokerage account and choosing your investments.

-It is not taxed yet so I can contribute more of my money and will be taxed in the future. The beauty of having both a 401K and a Roth IRA is that you have one account that's already been taxed and other that hasn't so your future retirement has already been partially taxed.

-401K contributions are tax deductible. The amount invested will be deducted from your gross income.

Not only did I save more I also am going to be in a lower tax bracket than 2015 even though I made more!" -Super Millennial

"With technology, the ability to create your own business is endless whether you are a photographer, coder, model, graphic designer, dancer, tutor, etc... the opportunities are endless. You are a self-starter and a go-getter and live by your craft but you don't often understand the financial and tax implications behind it. 

You want to just concentrate on what you are good at and before you even realize it the money is coming in, fast and furious. Now the last thing you want to think about is taxes and cash flow plans etc. But you have no choice. So what are the basics?

Lets start with a 1099, which is a tax document for miscellaneous income; this is where all of your wages for freelancing will be documented for the year, just like a W2 which you may be familiar with. But unlike a W2, no tax deductions will be taken upfront from your wages. The benefit of the 1099 is that you have a little bit more lead room when it comes to planning for your taxes as well as options. #letsgetcreative

Option: Set up your own company, and absorb the 1099's through that company, instead of your individual name." -Orca Financial

"1. Get organized: Use this time to take inventory of your financial situation and see what you are succeeding with and what you are struggling with. The more you know about your finances, the easier it is to improve them.


2. Do not waste your refund: Resist the urge to blow your tax refund on frivolous items. Use the money that you get back from the IRS in a way that will set you up for future success, whether that means investing it or having it contribute to your emergency fund."

-The Funny Financial Planner

RETHINK IT

"When you receive a significant tax refund, it can be easy to think of it as a bonus or free money, which is likely why so many opt to spend it on something extraneous. Instead of running out and spending it as soon as you receive a check in the mail, stop and take the time to really think about what that money means.

It’s not extra money the government is merely giving you. It really means you gave (or the government kept) more of your hard-earned money than you needed to. Think about the fact that your refund is money you worked hard for, like another paycheck. By doing so, you might be more cautious with what you choose to spend it on.

PUT IT AWAY

Out of sight, out of mind, couldn’t be a truer statement. If you choose to put your refund right into your checking account, you make it all too easy to spend it. Opt to deposit your tax refund directly into an investment or savings account that isn’t easily reachable. By directly depositing it, you won’t have an opportunity to touch it or spend it in the first place. Moreover, depending on the savings account, you might not have access to it once it’s deposited, which is a surefire way to make sure you don’t waste it." -Everything Finance

"Use It As a Down Payment on a Home

If you’re planning on buying a house, you may have to come up with a big down payment depending on the market in your area. Your tax refund can help ease that financial burden or even jumpstart your house down payment fund and motivate you to deposit more each month.

When you buy a house, it’s best to put at least 20% down in order to avoid private mortgage insurance (PMI) which can add up each year.

Home Repairs

Home repairs can be expensive and add up quickly. But upgrades and repairs can make your home a more comfortable place to live and even increase its value.

If you’ve been meaning to renovate your home or repair something that has been on your to-do list for a while, your tax refund can help so you don’t have to use your credit card or take out a loan." -My Debt Epiphany

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