Financial abuse is becoming a more and more common occurrence in today’s society. Today, many men and women are using finances to manipulate and control their partners within a relationship. It’s important for everyone to recognize that financial abuse is not oFinancial abuse is becoming a more and more common occurrence in today’s society. Today, many men and women are using finances to manipulate and control their partners within a relationship. It’s important for everyone to recognize that financial abuse is not only real, but it can happen to anyone regardless of whether or not the couple is dating or married. In less common cases, a person can be financially abused by someone they are not romantically involved with. Financial abuse commonly occurs alongside other forms of abuse such as physical and emotional abuse. Therefore, if you suspect you are being financially abused, it may be important for you to reevaluate your relationship and ensure that you’re safe.
What Is Financial Abuse?
Financial abuse occurs when one spouse uses the finances as a way to manipulate and/or control the other spouse. This can happen in multiple ways, but it primarily happens in two ways. In some cases, the financially abusive spouse takes measures to ensure that the abused spouse has no access to funds and no means of earning an income. In other cases, the financially abusive spouse squanders the abused party’s earnings. In these cases, the abused party may be afraid to leave because they don’t think the other party can care for themselves. Those who are being financially abused may feel as though they’re trapped in the relationship because they’re either financially dependent on their abuser, or the abused party would feel guilty about leaving the abuser to fend for themselves.
Signs of Financial Abuse
Financially abusive spouses may not allow the abused party to get a job, or have any source of income. The financially abusive spouse may take measures to sabotage job opportunities or current jobs. Financially abusive spouses commonly have rigid control over the finances. This often means that the abused party does not even have access to the bank accounts and credit accounts. Due to this lack of access, the financially abused party may not immediately recognize their situation as being financially abused. In some cases, the financially abusive spouse may force the abused party to work long and exhausting hours, only for the abusive party to take all the spouse’s money. Other signs of financial abuse may include financial sabotage such as running up bills in the abused party’s name, ruining the abused party’s credit, and forms of identity theft.
Building a Support System
If you are in a financially abusive relationship, it is always a good idea to begin building a support system before you leave your financially abusive partner. Finding friends or family that will allow you to live with them while you’re getting back on your feet may be an important step in getting your financial freedom back. If you do not have friends or family that live close to you, a domestic violence center may be able to help you determine which resources you’re eligible to receive. It may also be helpful to join a support group for people who have suffered abuse whether financially or otherwise.
If you have not been working, now is the time to begin working on your resume and developing skills that will help you obtain employment. It may also help to open your own bank account that your spouse does not have access to. Here it must be noted that your spouse may have an interest in this account if you’re legally married. When you get divorced, your spouse may be entitled to some of the funds in this account. Depending on where you’re at in the process, it may be time to actually apply for jobs, living assistance, and look at other housing arrangements. No matter where you are in this process, it’s always a good idea to consult an attorney before announcing your intentions to divorce to your spouse.
If you’re in a financially abusive relationship, and you need help leaving, there may be resources available to you. By visiting 211’s website, or dialing 211 on the phone, you can find out which services you’re eligible to receive. There may be domestic violence organizations in your area that may also be able to help you escape a financially abusive relationship. Even if you are not ready to leave, it’s important to understand that you do not have to stay in the relationship forever.