Abuse comes in many forms. Physical and emotional abuse are the types that most people think of, but domestic violence can also take a variety of other forms ranging from sexual assault to terroristic threats to financial abuse. Financial abuse is a form of domestic violence that often starts off under the guise of the abuser being “protective” or “better with money” than the victim. It can evolve into something much more serious, however. There are some particular red flags to watch for to determine if this type of domestic violence is happening in your marriage.
First, like all other forms of domestic violence, financial abuse is about control. It is therefore logical that a common warning sign for financial abuse is that the abuser has complete control over the household finances. Keeping all accounts in solely one name and refusing to allow the other spouse any access to funds is a true hallmark of financial abuse. The abuser may give the victim a small allowance that is only just enough to get by. In addition, the abuser may want a detailed accounting of exactly how the victim spends every bit of that allowance. Refusal or inability to provide details on how the money was spent often results in physical or emotional retaliation on the victim. The control also will often manifest in the abuser making decisions about big purchases without any input from the victim or refusing to share any details about the couple’s financial situation with the victim.
Second, the victim may very well not be permitted to return to work or generate his or her own income. The abuser will take measures to make sure that the victim is totally financially dependent for all financial needs. Keeping the victim from building a career or financial independence perpetuates the abuser’s control. Without any access to funds and no way to make his or her own money, the victim will often feel trapped and unable to leave the relationship.
Third, the abuser may make threats that are based in the victim’s lack of financial resources. This is especially common where the parties share children. The abuser may tell the victim that he or she will never be able to win custody because he or she has no job and no money.
Although financial abuse is not the first thing that comes to mind when people think of domestic violence, it is absolutely a damaging form of abuse. Call us today at (320) 299-4249 to talk about your divorce and what we can do to help you if you are the victim of financial abuse.