Having an affair involves numerous consequences; feelings of guilt, blame, and emotional turmoil, to name a few. But have you ever thought about what impact it could have on one’s financial life?
With more than half of both men and women admitting to partaking in affairs during current or past relationships, it is likely that individuals are not aware of the ways it can wreak havoc on their finances.
• You Could Lose Your Job
Most people are aware of the emotional distress an affair can cause an individual. However, the negative impacts it can cause on productivity levels are often overlooked. So, how does it contribute to and play a role in one’s everyday working life?
It is important to note that emotional suffering can be a reality for both parties – the offending, and the non-offending. The offender is likely to be riddled with guilt, whilst the deceived partner is likely to be humiliated and will go through some form of emotional turbulence. The psychological effects of being deceived in this way are likened to those who have undergone a traumatic experience, and in a lot of cases, symptoms have been described as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Symptoms include the following:
• Recurring and intrusive thinking
• Lack of self-worth
• Confusion and disorientation
• Hyperarousal and irritability
• Insomnia and difficulty sleeping
PTSD can also lead to other more serious problems such as alcohol and drug abuse, and various other mental health issues such as depression and anxiety. These disorders directly correlate with reduced productivity and can cause insomnia and disorientation. As a result, one could risk losing their job due to poor performance in the workplace.
It was found that a whopping 58% of 1,800 UK individuals had affairs that began in the workplace. Therefore, it is no surprise that there have been several cases where an offending partner has lost their job due to an affair. In this scenario, there are arguments both in favour and against infidelity being the reason for the termination of employment, but who wins?
Is an affair an indication of one’s trustworthiness, loyalty, and overall professional capacity, or should it remain a personal problem between two individuals?
• You Spend More
Having an affair is the equivalent of dating two people at the same time, and this means double the cost. Therefore, anything one would normally spend on their significant other, they will be probably be spending on the other individual too. Examples of expenditure include dinner bills, gifts, hotels, taxi rides, and mobile phone bills.
Interesting Fact: Ashley Madison, a Canadian online dating website, responsible for enabling extra marital affairs, faced a data breach in 2015. A group called “The Impact Team” were the culprits – stealing personal data, and threatening to expose information of those registered with the site. They carried out a survey to identify which careers are more likely to be unfaithful to their spouses, of which medical was top for women, and trades jobs were the top for men.
• Divorce Fees
Extra marital affairs could work out quite expensive for both parties, particularly if the marriage ends in divorce. People get divorced for a handful of different reasons, but adultery remains one of the leading causes of it. And whilst divorce is a lot of things, it is most definitely not cheap!
There are four main outgoing costs that are involved in a divorce:
- Legal fees
These include any fees that you would pay to your solicitor. The payment can be used for advice on any legal information, as well as the fees required to have a representative for negotiations in court.
- Court fees
Whilst the price for court fees do vary depending on one’s region in the UK and the terms of their divorce, the average price for the filing of a divorce petition is £550. As well as this, the price for creating a mutually consensual legal financial contract costs £100. An additional £225 is required to pay the court to decide on how the pairs finances will be split between both parties.
It is important to note that if you are on benefits or are living on a low income, you may be able to receive financial support from the court.
Interesting Fact: Aviva reveals that divorce and separation costs have continued to increase with an average of £14,561 spent on ‘legal and lifestyle costs’ per UK couple. They also identified a 17% increase since 2014.
• Divorce financial settlement
A financial settlement can be agreed to in two ways: privately, or in court. However, the majority of couples are unable to decide amongst themselves and tend to let the court decide for them. The court may decide that you are required to provide existing assets to your ex-spouse and may even demand that you pay on-going maintenance.
Can adultery affect the outcome of a financial settlement?
When a couple has filed for divorce on the basis of adultery, it is not unreasonable to believe that the innocent party should receive a more favourable financial settlement.
To a lot of people, receiving a favourable settlement over the offending party may seem like a given, but this is not the reality. In the majority of divorce cases, the reasoning behind the divorce are not considered when deciding on the sharing of the marital assets.
- Child maintenance fees
If you have had children with your spouse, then you may have to pay child maintenance fees. The amount you pay will depend on factors such as annual income, any benefits you may be receiving, and the number of children you have.
• Marriage Counselling Fees
Extra marital affairs can seriously harm a marriage, and foundations such as trust and loyalty that previously lay the foundation of the relationship can be left broken. However, in some cases of infidelity in a marriage, both parties may decide to work on reconciling the relationship and seek resolution, instead of ending the marriage. In these cases, it is likely that the couple will pursue marriage counselling.
Costing between £10-£70 for a private counselling session in the UK, a continued investment in marriage counselling can seriously rack up. So, before committing to a private therapist or psychologist, it may be worth seeking help elsewhere first. Charities such as Marriage Care and Relate would be a good place to start.
How can I protect myself financially in the case of infidelity?
Consider an infidelity penalty clause on your prenuptial agreement!
Prenups, more formally known as ‘prenuptial agreements’, can be quite difficult to discuss with your partner, but it can be necessary. In simple terms, prenups are formal agreements that couples can consent to prior to your marriage that outline how their assets will be divided if they divorce or separate. There are several reasons to enforce a prenup, such as protecting your business, or to protect your spouse from any debt you may have incurred.
Whilst they may not be legally binding in England, it is very likely that a judge will consider the prenuptial agreement when dealing with a case and is likely to accept it if certain precautions have been executed.
Interesting Fact: 1 in 4 couples who consider pre-nuptial agreements in the UK do not end up going through with the wedding.
The Infidelity Clause
The infidelity clause belongs in what you would call the ‘lifestyle clauses’ category in a prenuptial agreement. Lifestyle clauses can be anything from how much weight a spouse is allowed to gain during their marriage, how often the in-laws are allowed to visit, to how much sex they should be having per month!
Whilst the above examples may seem unreasonable to some, they are some of the most common examples of lifestyle clauses, along with the infidelity clause. An infidelity clause is an official declaration that states that spouses must not take part in extra marital affairs, and if that if they do so, they risk penalisation of their claims to the assets stated in the prenup.
This clause, in particular, can come in quite handy. If a couple does eventually get divorced on the basis of infidelity, it will be very clear to the judge that faithfulness and loyalty was discussed prior to the marriage and remained an important part of it. In the spouse’s denunciation of it, the judge’s decision could favour and protect the non-offending party.
With 1 in 5 British adults admitting to partaking in an affair, infidelity is not a stranger to UK couples. Those caught up in this scenario can be subject to irreparable damage, emotionally and financially. And even for those who outlast the nightmare, the process of finding a new normal is long and demanding.