Financial abuse occurs when an abuser controls all of the financials in a relationship and withholds money from the victim. This is not the same as the couple agreeing that the one partner would handle the couples’ finances. It often occurs when a relationship is also physically abusive, but not always. Financial abuse is toxic and damaging. Financial abuse victims feel trapped and fear being completely cut off financially, which makes it incredibly challenging to leave the abusive relationship.
How can you tell if you are a victim of financial abuse? Here are some common ways we see financial abuse manifest (and note, each one alone may not necessarily indicate financial abuse):
- The victim has no access to any online accounts
- The victim does not have any credit cards in his or her own name, but only an authorized user on the abuser’s credit card accounts
- The abuser keeps separate bank accounts
- The abuser refuses to pay the victim’s bills
- The abuser demands that the victim quit his or her job, or reduce his or her work hours
- The abuser gives the victim an “allowance”
- The victim has to hide his or her purchases from the abuser
- The abuser makes major financial decisions and purchases without the input of the victim
- The abuser prepares the couple’s joint tax returns but refuses to provide the victim with a copy
- The abuser incurs incredible amount of debt on any joint credit accounts, gets the victim to co-sign loans for the abuser’s purchases for his or her self, and/or the abuser makes the victim incur an incredible amount of debt on the victim’s own credit for a purchase for the abuser alone.
If more than one of these applies to you, you should take action immediately to protect yourself. Call our experienced attorneys today at 410-740-1180 to find out how you can protect yourself and discuss a strategy to exit the abusive relationship.