Financial Abuse: Another Form of Domestic Violence

Financial Abuse: Another Form of Domestic Violence

Domestic violence takes form in a variety of shapes and sizes. Most think of domestic violence in terms of physical and emotional abuse: a victim covered in bruises or being isolated from family and friends. Domestic violence, however, can expand into other aspects of a victim’s life; specifically, financial abuse may occur, wherein the abuser can take total control over the victim’s money, making it almost impossible for the victim to untangle him or herself without significant financial ruin. In essence, the victim, without any type of financial resources, is just as tied down to the abuser as if he or she were to be physically confined to the home that they share.

What is Financial Abuse?

Financial abuse can take place in many forms as well. Not only does it take the form of the abuser taking control of the victim’s salary and/or putting the victim’s money into an account solely controlled by the abuser, but if the couple has been married, the abuser, with his spouse’s maiden name, Social Security, and other varied information, can take out credit cards and loans, start a business, and/or create significant debt in that partner’s name. Some other examples of financial abuse include:

  • Forbidding the victim from working or limiting him/her to certain work schedules;
  • Forcing the victim into a certain career path;
  • Not permitting the victim to have a personal bank account or any other type of savings account;
  • Giving the victim an allowance and limiting the items the victim can buy;
  • If there is a disparity in income, using this disparity to expect favors in exchange for gifts or using this disparity to control the victim’s actions;
  • Using a child’s Social Security number to claim income tax refunds;
  • Forcing family situations whereby the victim is pregnant throughout the relationship so that she may be unable to get back to work; and
  • Getting the victim fired through harassment of the victim, the victim’s colleagues or employer.

What Steps Can You Take To Get Yourself Out of an Abusive Relationship?

These are generally the types of abusive behavior seen in financially abusive relationships, and many times these tactics are enforced through physically and/or emotionally abusive behavior. Though this type of scary situation seems impossible to get out of, there are many options, but it is up to the person to decide when and how to take advantage of these escape methods.

  • First and foremost, it is important to reach out to trusted friends and family and inform them of the situation. The important thing is to have a safety net, and letting others know can help facilitate an escape.
  • Next, locate any and all financial and personal documents regarding your bank statements, salary stubs from your job, birth and marriage certificates, and any other important documents crucial to your financial health. Store these in a trusted place, whether that is with your friends/family or in a location outside of your home.
  • If possible, earn extra money in secret and leave it with a trusted person or anywhere outside of the home.
  • Change your PINs and passwords to any financial information that may be available currently to your abuser so that he or she cannot access your financial activity.
  • Create a budget for when you leave so you know how much it will cost to be out on your own. This should include money for housing, transportation, food, and other expenses necessary.
  • Check out local or federal programs that help victims of financial abuse. These programs could provide food stamps or housing, or could instruct you on financial planning.

Experienced Family Law Attorneys in Mount Pleasant, Charleston Area

Financial abuse is just one of the ways domestic violence can manifest in a relationship. If you or someone you know is a victim of domestic violence, there are options. Speak with the experienced family law attorneys at Klok Law Firm LLC who can give you advice on how to get out of an abusive situation or provide you options for protection from your spouse. Contact Klok Law Firm LLC today for an iniital and confidential consultation.