Some people experience physical abuse that they can easily demonstrate to others. There are people who cannot control their anger and who take out every negative experience on their spouses. Many people are more calculating when they mistreat their romantic partners or spouses.
Your experience of financial abuse may not look like what most people picture when they imagine domestic violence. That does not diminish the validity of financial abuse and the harm that it causes to individuals. If you have decided to leave a marriage because of a spouse’s financial abuse, you will need to prepare to protect yourself in family court.
Validating what you have experienced by understanding the most common manifestations of financial abuse could help you prepare a more effective strategy to end the abuse you have endured and move on with your life. What are the most common warning signs of financial abuse in a marriage?
You don’t have control over your money
Do you have to deposit your paycheck into an account or sign it over to your spouse as soon as you receive it? This is a major red flag for financial abuse. A spouse who forces you to hand over your resources may be a financial abuser.
Although there are sometimes scenarios that may justify such conduct, including severe financial hardship affecting the whole family or a history of addictive gambling, most people deprived of control over their resources and income should be able to maintain control over their resources.
You don’t have access to money
Sometimes, financial abuse involves a dependent spouse who does not work outside of the home. Choosing to stay home to care for the household or dependent family members does not mean you should give up all financial rights.
If your spouse refuses to allow you to access household resources, that refusal is often a bright red flag warning of ongoing financial abuse. Especially if you do not have the resources necessary to meet your basic needs or the needs of your children, that is likely indicative of financial abuse.
Your spouse has intentionally damaged your credit
Financial abuse can also look like a spouse preventing you from becoming financially independent. Your spouse may have opened credit cards in your name without telling you. Given that they control the finances, they might delay payments on accounts in your name, dragging down your credit score. These actions can make you more dependent on your abuser and make leaving more difficult.
Financial abuse may not leave physical bruises, but it can impact someone’s self-confidence, independence and happiness. People often need outside help, including the support of an attorney, to exit a marriage plagued by invisible abuse, including financial abuse.
At The Law Firm of Poppe & Associates, PLLC, our focus is relentless advocacy for our clients. If you or someone you know is considering divorce, reach out to schedule a consultation at 646-665-3903 or by contacting us online.
Let Me Be Your Brave
Mia Poppe, Esq.