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DW is hiding debt from me

(11 Posts)
flamencia Thu 25-May-17 22:19:58

I've been with DW for 12 years, when we got together we were both skint, she had children, I didn't. We muddled along until money got better and eventually married. We never merged finances, as she said that after a financially abusive ex, she'd vowed never to have a joint account again. Initially I didn't mind but sometimes it has irked, and we don't always share out the cost of running the household fairly, she has often had a bit more spare cash after paying out for things than me, but she also earns twice as much. She had a large inheritance which she used to pay off some debts, she gave me a bit for my debts and we put some forward for a house deposit. She had around £20k left, by my calculations. We had to pay back a tax bill at one point, and I thought by then she should have had £10k left. She said she didn't want to eat into it any more as it was her 'cushion'. I've never had access to the account this money is held in.

I had a child 2 years ago and she got depression around the same time. She has drank very heavily throughout the depression, I calculated around £500 a month's worth of alcohol at one point. We've had lots of arguments about her drinking, it has got quite a bit better lately. When the baby was 6 months old, it became apparent that her savings were gone as she ran out of money one month and scoffed when I suggested borrowing a bit from savings. She told me the last of her savings were tied up in an ISA. I've never seen any paperwork corresponding to this.

Last autumn, I discovered, via a ripped up letter in the bin, that she had an overdraft of £2000 that was mostly unauthorised and charges were mounting. I asked her and she lied to me initially then eventually came clean, went to the bank and got a consolidation loan. I thought everything was alright until last month, when her pay ran out after 2 weeks. She said she'd overspent on things for a DIY project so I left it at that. She ran out halfway through again this month, said she'd borrow from savings.

I've done some digging and it turns out that the loan in the autumn was for £6500, but I don't know why it needed to be that much. I have also used her card to check her balance and just before pay day this month, she is around £1500 overdrawn.

I don't know where the fuck all this money is going. I know she still drinks heavily but after bills, she should have around £600 a month to spend (well, £400 now that I know her loan repayment is £200 a month) and I just can't believe that she's frittered away, to my calculations, £10k in savings, and £7500 of overdraft/loans in the last 4 years or so.

I don't know how to confront her because she went ballistic when she realised I'd fished a letter out of the bin last autumn, so if she finds out I've looked at her letters in the drawers, and checked her balance on her card she'll shut down. I told her I wanted to talk to her about something the other day, via text, and she replied saying 'okay but if you're going to lecture me about money, I will not engage'. That was because I'd snapped at her when she expected a lift to work because she had no bus fare to get there.

I don't know what to do. Leaving is going to be so messy and I'm worried about my toddler (she's legal parent on the birth certificate), and I'd have to move miles away because that's were my family are and I haven't really many friends around here. It really guts me to think that she's done this, I think back to how close we were, the intimacy, she's the only person I've ever really had a relationship with.

Whatisitnow101 Thu 25-May-17 22:37:32

I am so sorry you are going through this. I think she's drinking far more than you think and that's where the money is going.

flamencia Thu 25-May-17 23:22:49

Thanks. The drinking has lessened, and I do know this as I keep close tabs on it. It's still heavy but not as much.

I just don't know how to address it without it being obvious I've been snooping again. Even though I shouldn't have to snoop because finances should be open between us.

Changedname3456 Fri 26-May-17 00:39:28

You were married when DC was born? If so, you have PR anyway and you can get the birth certificate updated fairly easily (and probably should).

Is she likely to be classed as the primary carer or are you? Who does the school run etc? The move back to your parents with dc might be agreed by a court if they're likely to see you as the primary, and particularly if her drinking has impacted on dc (and you're able to prove it).

If that's not an option you want to explore then the only other route to take is to get her to get help with the drinking. Then see whether (if she won't talk to you) she'll go and see CAB or one of the charities that helps on debt management.

Do you need to reveal the details you've "snooped" to have the conversation with her? Surely the two months running out of cash should be enough?

Make sure you're not going to get hit by any financial fallout from her. Check your credit file with Experian and Equifax. You don't need to have a joint account for your finances to become tied on a credit report. Just living at the same address with the same surname can be enough, particularly if your mortgage is joint names.

It's also really easy to take out joint finances and fake signatures of your partner etc. If she starts getting desperate enough then she may start doing this - be really careful. Any joint agreements will show in the reports.

flamencia Fri 26-May-17 06:28:06

Sorry, to make it clear, I'm the birth mother but she's also legal parent. I'm definitely the primary carer, I'm a sahm and also do pretty much everything for the toddler. She won't contest me moving away I'm just worried about how much the toddler will miss their older siblings and have to go to a new nursery, we'd be going from a large lively household to just the two of us.

That's not what I want though, I'm gutted that it might have to come to this, that the person I thought I'd spend forever with could hide stuff from me like this.

Thanks for the practical advice on finances, I'll definitely check out my credit score. We've got different surnames so that might help separate us a bit in terms of credit score. Mine should be good so anything less will be illuminating.

As for not revealing I've snooped, I can bring up the running out of money for two months but she'll brush it off and won't reveal the true depth of the problem, I know. And then I don't know how to progress it without making it look like I'm overreacting, because she'll tell me I am.

user1486956786 Fri 26-May-17 06:45:15

I think the fact she can't afford bus fare is enough to strike conversation without going into debt talks?

Perhaps you can do it in more supportive way, 'I know you are in some debt, I can start working part time and we can set a plan to clear it in X amount of time' ?? So you are bringing it up in a non nagging way but actually also offering to help get get out of this mess!

DarkFloodRises Fri 26-May-17 06:50:11

It's worrying that your attitudes to money are so different, and also that she isn't honest about her spending. Personally I wouldn't be able to live with someone like this.

Changedname3456 Fri 26-May-17 08:27:37

Sorry for my gender assumptions before.

I've done the living with an alcoholic bit, though fortunately before kids came along, so I can empathise and sympathise. I'm more at a loss as to what to suggest to put things right, sorry. She has to want to drink less and she has to want to face up to her finances and it doesn't sound like she's anywhere near doing that. If your DC is at nursery age then he/she'll adjust and make new friends quickly and it's not like you'd cut DP out of your lives so she'll have an ongoing relationship.

I hope you're not going to find any problems with your credit score, but if you do find you've been associated with your partner then you can ask the agency to separate you. The Martin Lewis MoneySaving site has links to getting free reports (if you've not done it before).

KungFuPandaWorksOut16 Fri 26-May-17 09:10:54

Have you ever thought the whole spiel about no joint accounts because of abusive and controlling ex is bull? It gives a reason for you being so understanding at not having a shared account and her too get into debt and spend as she pleases no questions asked.

She's already told you she won't engage in a conversation in regards with money, so what else is there left to Do? You can't have a conversation with a person when they don't want one. The only saving grace is because you aren't joint account holders none of the debt could be tied too you.

Isetan Fri 26-May-17 09:51:34

There's nothing you can say or do that will change your partner's attitude to alcohol and money. This is who she is (and apparently has always been) and it's time to let go of the person you want her to be.

Prioritise your child by getting out of an abusive relationship.

flamencia Fri 26-May-17 09:52:46

Done Experian and my credit score is top notch so that's good news.

Changed its okay, I wasn't clear in my op. She is drinking less but it's still more than average. She hasn't drank much in the last couple of weeks due to money but it is likely to start again when she gets paid.

I have considered that the ex thing isn't entirely true but I know he was abusive in other ways and that is backed up by other family members. However I'm also thinking she knows what it is like to be distrustful because of money and worried about it all disappearing so why do this to me? I think she thinks because it is 'hers' it is none of my business so I don't need to worry.

While I want to be supportive I do not want to take on a part time job to help pay it back. I have some income due to online stuff and I still contribute the same share to the household bills that I did when working so I don't feel like I should have to pick up the slack here. Not to mention that working will only bring in the same amount as I make online so there's no financial advantage. If she was struggling to make ends meet it would be a different matter.

On paper, I know I should walk away. But it's the emotional side of things. I really didn't think she was like this. And as I piece things together, it's been going on so long. It's not just a mistake. She gets really shitty with me when I try to discuss money. Says that's all I ever think about.

It's going to be a couple of days before I can talk to her because of her work pattern.

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