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Ask Dave

Financial Separation May Lead To Separation

D discovered his wife has been gambling her income away at casinos on work trips. D thinks she's addicted to gambling. What are his options at this point?

QUESTION: D in Oklahoma City says his wife travels for work. A few weeks ago, she called and told him she needed him to buy her a tire. She couldn’t afford to buy it. He started checking, and D discovered she’s been gambling her income away at casinos on these work trips. D thinks she’s addicted to gambling. What are his options at this point?

ANSWER: There’s only one reason you would need to protect yourself and only one way that you can protect yourself, and that is in the event of a divorce. You’ve done all that you can to protect yourself if you’re going to stay married. You’re very analytical with the verbiage that you’re using for something that should be very emotional.

You need to save your marriage and your wife. The fact that you guys live such separate lives is part of what allowed this to happen, and so that part’s on you. I won’t have to discover that about Sharon Ramsey because our lives and our money are one. She’d have to have a complete psychological breakdown and two lives off to the side for that to happen. It could happen, hypothetically, but it’s less likely. That’s not to pick on you in the middle of your pain.

I think you’ve done what you can do now, and that’s made a statement to her by separating these things. Now you’ve got to get some professional counseling and pastoral counseling advice that will help you pierce through her denial and allow her to get some help and save her.

In a very real sense, she’s developed a completely side life over here where she has this gambling thing, where she supports this kid in ways that you don’t agree with. You guys aren’t in agreement on so many things, and then the secrecy starts to build. This is something you guys are both going to have to work very hard at to save. I sure hope you can. I think there’s going to be a lot of pain on both your parts to bring this back together. I hope you guys both care enough about the relationship to fight it through and to pierce through her issues and to come to some agreement on some of these things and have a higher quality marriage at the end of this deal after it turns around. That’s my prayer for you.

Just separate stuff and take her name off of stuff, and get your name off of her accounts because if she runs an account that has your name on it into the hole… Anything that has a joint account has got to be shut down. Financial separation is a precursor to separation, which are of course both precursors to a divorce. I sure hope that we can just end it with a financial separation with the goal of bringing that back together later after some trust is re-established and some healing has occurred.