While many people have never heard of financial abuse, most have heard of domestic abuse and the two are often associated. According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV), between 95 and 99 percent of all victims of domestic abuse (emotional, physical, psychological and sexual) also experience financial abuse. Financial abuse is devastating in its own right, but combined with other forms of abuse, it can prevent victims from extracting themselves from a dangerous and unhealthy situation.
Common examples of financial and economic behaviors that signify abuse include:
- Being forced to sign documents you do not understand or consent to
- Not being permitted to work
- Not having control over your own money
- Having basic resources, medication, or food withheld
- Making excessive or unusually large cash transactions
- Your partner stealing your identity
- Being coerced into financial transactions
- Your partner filing false insurance claims
- One party’s refusal to pay child support
- One party hiding their assets
- One party turning off the utilities
Are You in a Financially Abusive Relationship?
There are a few telltale signs of financial abuse. If you have no knowledge of joint financial account information, other than the name of your spouse’s employer, this could be a sign of financial abuse. You should understand your spouse’s compensation structure, what benefits they receive, and where money is located, if other than in their primary bank account.
Another possible sign is if your spouse has you on a “budget” or an allowance. If you have to ask your spouse’s permission to spend money, even on basic items, this could also be a sign of financial abuse. If a person pays cash for everything, this may be a signal that they are hiding something from their spouse (and that they may be reprimanded or punished if they are caught spending money without their abusive spouse’s permission).
There are a number of risk factors that indicate that someone may be involved in a financially abusive relationship. Some warning signs include:
- A history of other types of abuse within the relationship (emotional, physical, psychological, or sexual)
- Ignorance of financial matters
- Being in a relationship with someone who has substance abuse problems
- Lack of a social network to help identify scams
- Poor health
- Cognitive impairment
- Advanced age
Healthy Financial Relationships
Both partners should have access to all financial records, and awareness of all existing marital accounts. Financial decisions, especially large ones, should be made as a couple. Any important financial documents (such as those involved with purchasing a home or a car) should always be reviewed and fully understood by both parties before they are signed. Moreover, each partner should have equal access to the family finances.
Towson Divorce Lawyers at Huesman, Jones & Miles, LLC Represent Victims of Financial Abuse
If you are in an abusive relationship of any kind, it is important to recognize the signs and begin taking immediate steps to protect your future. Contact an experienced Towson divorce lawyer at Huesman, Jones & Miles, LLC today at 443-589-0150 or contact us online. We assist victims of domestic abuse with all aspects of separation, divorce, and child custody. We serve clients throughout Baltimore County, Carroll County, Harford County and Howard County, including the communities of Baltimore, Towson, Essex, Columbia, Pikesville, and Bel Air.