Couples facing financial problems including financial infidelity or cheating with money need rules for dealing with their money. Often the cause of financial infidelity arises from their not talking about their expectations with each other. Couples need to find a financial strategy that works for them.
I have found it works best for couples to have a joint bank account for their household and each a separate account for discretionary spending. If both work, their joint account would be funded with most of their take home pay, leaving a smaller amount for their discretionary purchases which goes into their separate accounts. If one or both have passive income it would work the same way. Each would fund the joint account with the same agreed upon percentage of their take home pay or income. If only one is getting paid he / she would put, as an example, 80% of his / her pay into their household account and another 10% into each of their separate, discretionary accounts.
When making a purchase from their household account spouses need to set a figure or price at which they need to discuss the purchase between them. For one partner it may be anything over $ 200.00, while for another the price could be $ 350.00. Couples need to use the lower figure in order to respect both partners' limits, meaning in this example they need to discuss any purchase over $ 200.00. Respecting the lower figure buildings financial respect and safety into their relationship.
Both spouses need the freedom to make discretionary purchases without having to check each and every one of them out with their partner. To give them freedom, while respecting a limit, they will again need to discuss with each other when their purchases exceed a definite amount each month. One spouse may make several small purchases while the other purchases one big item. Either way, when the figure they have agreed upon is reached they need to talk.
Stacey Bradford's article on Money Rules for Couples includes many helpful ideas to help spouses avoid financial infidelity. Being aware of the need to discuss their finances is the first big step for spouses to protect themselves from financial infidelity.
For couples in need of counseling to develop a debt strategy the National Foundation for Credit Counseling offers counselors in your area. They can be reached at 800-388-2227 or at http://www.nfcc.org/ .
Addictions are a common cause of financial infidelity. AA and other 12 step programs are a valuable resource. AA is for alcohol addiction, and NA is for drug addiction. DA, or debtors anonymous, can help with overspending and shopping addictions. Gamblers anonymous and Sex and Love Addicts anonymous are also available. These addictions need to be addressed first in order to deal effectively with the cheating with money that companies those addictions.
For couples facing bankruptcy it is important to understand the changes that have been made in the bankruptcy laws in 2005. The rules for Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 have changed. A valuable resource is the American Bankruptcy Institute's Consumer Bankruptcy Center consumer.abiworld.org.