Two of the most common reasons for divorce are financial issues and addiction. If you’ve got a spouse with a serious gambling problem, you may well be dealing with both of these issues.
If you’re considering divorce, it’s important to take steps to protect your financial well-being. It’s best to do that before your spouse knows that you plan to end the marriage if possible. It’s also wise to seek legal guidance as early as possible.
Start collecting information
As much as you think you know about your spouse’s gambling losses and debts, you may not know the full extent of them. A good place to start is by accessing and reviewing things like:
- All joint account statements (bank, investment and retirement)
- Loan/line of credit statements
- Credit card statements
- Tax returns
Some gambling expenditures may be fairly obvious – like withdrawals from ATMs in Atlantic City casinos. However, your spouse’s gambling may be more “under the table.” Even if it is, the money has to come from somewhere. People have been known to clean out their retirement plans and sell valuables to support their gambling habit.
Separate your finances
You may be advised to open accounts of your own and have your paycheck deposited there. Getting a credit card solely in your name may be advisable as well. If there’s concern about your spouse dissipating your joint assets, you may be able to get an automatic order to prevent them from making any large or unnecessary withdrawals or purchases.
You’ll want to be able to separate your spouse’s gambling debts from your own debt and get a fair settlement that doesn’t leave you paying those debts. You’ll also want to protect your own credit going forward.
It’s a lot to think about – and this is just a brief overview. Every case is unique. That’s why the best first step you can take is to get sound legal guidance to help you protect your financial and other interests.