When people talk about abuse in a relationship, they often refer to physical or verbal abuse. However, there are other types of invisible abuse that are just as controlling and destructive.
Financial abuse is a commonly used tactic by abusers to gain control and manipulate, threaten or trap their victims in a relationship. While common, it is less obvious than other types of abuse people experience.
According to the National Network to End Domestic Violence (NNEDV):
- 99% of domestic violence cases involve financial abuse, yet 78% of Americans do not recognize financial abuse as a form of domestic violence.
- 3 out of 4 victims said they stayed in an abusive relationship for “economic reasons.”
- A significant number of victims end up returning to their abusers because they are unable to address their finances.
Financial abuse can take many forms and may be difficult to identify from both the outside looking in and for those who are victims of this kind of behavior. Below are some signs that may indicate a person is exerting control over the finances of another in a relationship.
1. Having no access to bank accounts or credit cards
Limiting or removing financial access forces one partner to rely on the other for ” allowance” when they need money. Individuals in this situation are left with no idea about how much money is in the bank or where their money is going. They may be forced to hand over their paychecks to the abuser, and ask for money when they need it. The abuser may take away their credit or debit cards and prevent access to online banking. This results in the victim being wholly reliant on the abuser for money.
2. All the debt is in the victimized spouse’s name alone
The victim may be unaware that this is even the case, or they may have been coerced into thinking that this was a good idea. The abuser may convince the victim to sign for loans or take out credit in the victim’s name. All of this can leave the victim in a dire situation if the abuser fails to keep up with repayments on the debt or if they accrue more debt than is affordable. As the debt is in the victim’s name, it leaves them responsible for it and can cause serious financial difficulty.
Escaping financial abuse
Leaving a relationship with an imbalance of power such as this can be incredibly difficult and feel almost impossible. Help is available to you, and you do have options. Finding out about your legal rights can be the first step in finding freedom from financial abuse and other types of invisible abuse.
At The Law Firm of Poppe & Associates, PLLC our focus is relentless advocacy for our clients. If you or someone you know is experiencing financial abuse by a spouse, Contact us to schedule a consultation by calling 646-665-3903 or through our online form.
Let Me Be Your Brave
Mia Poppe, Esq.