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Avoiding financial infidelity in Ontario separation and divorce

It's always desirable for couples to maintain an overall "need-to-know" communication policy in their relationship. This would include everything from the start time of the kids' hockey game to money and assets, whether held in Ontario or elsewhere. As a recent Canadian poll suggests, not disclosing one's financial status can lead to relationship mayhem and, by inference, to separation and divorce.

Indeed, full and complete financial disclosure by both parties constitutes an important part of the legal process governing divorce. Before arriving at that stage in a partnership, however, the survey results imply ways to avoid falling into the financial infidelity trap. Nearly four out of 10 Canadians surveyed admitted to either withholding information or simply lying about the current or ongoing state of their finances to their partners.

Neither gender nor income levels seemed to make a difference in the numbers. Age, however, was a factor with 47 per cent in the 18 to 34 age bracket experiencing the worst as compared to only 18 per cent for those aged 65 or older. The most common deception concerned maxing out a credit card. In other cases, dishonesty about income or imminent bankruptcy was cited.

The online survey seems to assert that transparency and ongoing clarity about one's financial status, concerns and upcoming challenges are important elements in maintaining a rewarding marriage. Ontario family law lawyers would be among the first to agree that, rather than facing the legal enforcement of financial disclosure -- sure to be part of separation and divorce -- it would make more sense to be open and upfront about finances from the get-go. The percentages and numbers of flash surveys may intrigue the curious for a while, but the tried-and-true experience of family law practitioners abides over the long term.

Source:, "Secret money piles, hidden debts: 4 in 10 Canadians admit to 'financial infidelity'", Erica Alini National, Feb. 5, 2018

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