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Love, marriage and money: Dealing with financial cheaters

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NEW YORK (PIX11) — Could you imagine your new wife not telling you she had $30,000 in student loans?

What about if your husband illegally put money into a Swiss bank account and now the IRS wants 150 percent of the value of the account as a penalty?

Financial cheating can be just as harmful to a marriage as romantic infidelity.

That’s why experts are urging couples to learn how to protect themselves from financial ruin — especially when that ruin could be caused by a significant other.

A New York woman said her money started disappearing soon after she married her now-ex-husband, who she fell in love with “at first sight.”

A month after their wedding, he admitted to having a prescription drug problem and she soon found out that every debt her new husband incurred would become her debt, too.

Hiding debts and funneling funds are just a few forms financial infidelity can take.

Experts say to protect themselves — and their bank accounts — women and men should follow these rules:

  • Read joint tax returns carefully to know exactly where money went;
  • Run your spouse’s credit report;
  • Work out a monthly budget together;
  • Talk openly and frankly about finances.

One option is to create a pre-nup, which spells out the way assets would be divided in case of a divorce. But that route is unsavory for many couples, who experts say would benefit greatly from a simple conversation and consultation with a financial planner.

Learn more about how to take charge of your money by using this online tool from Learnvest.