The goal of any abuser is to gain power and control in a relationship. Our advice is as follows.
Firstly, What is Financial Abuse in a Marriage?
Financial abuse occurs in most controlling or assaultive relationships. It often involves the victim being cut off from their finances, which creates an unhealthy amount of dependency on the aggressor.
Other examples of financial abuse include your partner hiding their spending habits from you or having secret accounts. Here are some signs that you are in a financially abusive marriage.
Your Spouse Controls the Finances
If your partner is the only one with access to your bank account, it could be a sign of financial abuse. At first, it may seem as though they are doing you a favour by taking care of finances for you, but it can easily turn into a controlling and unhealthy situation.
In abusive situations, the aggressor will often ensure that the victim’s name is not on any accounts. That way, they can remain in complete control over their spouse.
They’ve Ruined Your Credit Score
Abusive partners often ruin their spouse’s credit score either intentionally or by negligence. Since your credit score is foundational to securing housing, a credit card, and even some jobs, this is a serious sign of abuse.
In some cases, a husband will open a line of credit in their wife’s name and forge her signature. If you suspect something is off with this, check your credit score to find out.
Financial Topics are Off-Limits
If you are afraid to discuss financial topics with your spouse because of how they will react, you might be in a financially abusive situation.
In some cases, a controlling partner will respond so negatively to the subject of money that you are scared to even bring it up. This is a sign of abuse or financial infidelity and can be grounds for divorce.
They Block You Developing Your Own Career
One common tactic abusers use is blocking their spouse from developing their career. Your spouse might be preventing you from pursuing higher education or even from working at all. Sometimes, an abusive spouse will create a circumstance that leads to you losing your job.
If your husband has pressured you into quitting your career or guilted you out of furthering your own interests, you might be in an abusive situation.
Intense Scrutiny for Spending Habits
If your partner insists upon keeping an eye on your spending habits and punishes you for spending more than they allow you to, this is a sign of abuse. In some cases, they might give you an “allowance” or demand that you show them receipts for every purchase you make. Some spouses will force their partner to hand over their pat slips as soon as they receive it and deny them access to their own money.
Other examples of financial abuse include hiding major purchases or debt and making major economic decisions without letting you know. Many instances of economic abuse occur because one partner has a severe gambling problem that they are trying to hide.
Financially abusive partners will often cut their spouse off from having the means to develop their own savings and independence. This keeps the victim stuck in a bad situation where they do not feel free to leave or do not have the resources to do so.
If you are in a physically unsafe situation, contact a domestic abuse charity or the police if the threat is real and imminent right away to help you decide the next step. Your situation might call for getting a restraining order if it involves physical violence. Here are some steps to begin taking once you have ensured that you are physically safe:
If you need to protect yourself or recover from financial abuse in divorce, educating yourself about finances is a good place to start. Try to open a credit card in your name and build up your credit as much as possible. You can get the documents for this process sent to a trusted friend or family member.
Get Your Documents Together
Gather your important personal documents, such as your birth certificate, national insurance number P60 or P45. Put them in a safe location (preferably outside of the home you share with your partner). These documents will likely be necessary for filling out court papers and beginning divorce proceedings.
Start an Account
You can start a secret account so that you have resource to fall back on when you leave your spouse. Alternatively, you can stay with a friend or relative or ask someone you trust for a loan to get out of the situation.
The effects of financial abuse are often devastating. Victims feel inadequate and unsure of themselves due to the emotional abuse that accompanies financial abuse. They also must go without food and other necessities because they have no money.
And if they need to leave the relationship permanently, it is challenging to find safe and affordable housing. They also struggle to provide for basic needs like food, clothing, and transport.
Seek Legal Action for Financial Abuse
Economic abuse situations can be complex and difficult. Talk to us as soon as you can to find more information about recovering from your situation or getting help with financial abuse. We can assist you with your options for breaking free and rebuilding your life.
If you have experienced financial abuse in your marriage by your husband, you may have access to maintenance. These payments can help you cover your rent and other costs of living while you get back on your feet. If you have kids, you might consider transferring the child benefit payments into a newly created account.
The most important thing to remember is there is a lot of support out there. Many domestic abuse charities can help guide people through financial abuse as well. Here @Fairresult we also have our own in-house life coach who from her own experience can give you practical one to one advice about planning to regain control of your finances and move away from financial control and dependence on someone’s whims for your financial independence.
Contact Chris, Pete or Emma for immediate and confidential advice on regaining your own control, dignity, and self-respect.