The first thing that most people think of when they think of domestic abuse is likely to be verbal abuse and physical assault. But research shows that financial abuse is just as common in unhealthy marriages as other kinds of abuse. In fact, a study by the Centers for Financial Security found that financial abuse was a part of 99 percent of domestic violence cases. Furthermore, financial abuse in marriage is frequently the first manifestation of dating violence and domestic abuse. As a result, understanding how to spot financial abuse in a marriage is critical to your safety and security.
What is Financial Abuse in Marriage
Controlling a victim’s ability to acquire, use, and maintain financial resources is an example of financial abuse in marriage. Those who have been financially harmed may be unable to work. Their own money may also be restricted or stolen by the abuser. They also rarely have complete access to money and other resources. When they do have money, they are frequently required to account for every penny spent.
Overall, the types of financial abuse vary depending on the situation. An abuser may use subtle tactics such as manipulation at times, whereas other abusers may be more overt, demanding, and intimidating.
Financial Abuse in Marriage Facts
The consequences of financial abuse in marriage are frequently devastating. Victims feel inadequate and insecure as a result of the emotional abuse that comes with financial abuse. They must also forego food and other necessities due to a lack of funds.
Financial abuse in marriage exposes victims to physical abuse and violence in the short term. It is extremely difficult to plan for safety if you do not have access to money, credit cards, or other financial assets.
For example, if an abuser is particularly violent and the victim needs to flee to stay safe, it is difficult to do so without money or a credit card. And if they need to leave the relationship permanently, finding safe and affordable housing can be difficult. They also struggle to meet basic necessities such as food, clothing, and transportation.
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Victims frequently have a patchy employment history, ruined credit histories, and mounting legal issues as a result of years of financial abuse. As a result, establishing independence and long-term security is extremely difficult for them. In fact, many victims stay with or return to their abusers due to financial concerns.
Financial abuse in marriage, in general, is very isolating because victims frequently become financially dependent on their abusers. This financial reliance binds them to the relationship. They are unable to see a way out of their situation because they lack resources.
The following is an overview of how financial abuse is committed. Some abusers may employ all of these strategies, while others may employ only one or two. It doesn’t matter if the abusive person employs one or ten tactics; it’s still considered financial abuse. Here are some examples of financial exploitation.
Signs of Financial Abuse in Marriage
Let’s look at the signs and symptoms of financial abuse in relationships, as well as some strategies for dealing with economic abuse in marriage. The obvious signs of a husband or wife’s financial abuse in a marriage
#1. Access denial
If your partner does not give you free access to your money, you should be concerned. While marital assets can come from a variety of sources, they are still considered marital assets. The inability to access these funds when needed is a major red flag in your relationship.
#2. Extensive spending oversight
A spouse with pronounced control issues requires a detailed expense report of marital finances, receipts, and anecdotal descriptions of your spending. This hawk-eyed approach is one of the key indicators of financial abuse.
#3. Displeasure with spending that benefits the abused
You have a problem if you spend money on yourself for clothing, entertainment, food, and the like and your partner goes nuclear. There’s nothing wrong with taking care of yourself and spending a little money to do so.
#4. Your partner gives you a stipend.
You are not a child “working for a living” or attempting to gain favor with your intimate partner. It is not acceptable for your spouse to give you a stipend.
#5. The significant other wants to be reimbursed.
Your partner/spouse is not a savings and loan account. When you make household purchases with marital funds, it is completely inappropriate for the partner to demand repayment. Unfortunately, this happens far too frequently.
#6. Your partner will not allow you to work.
Financial abuse frequently evolves into something far more nefarious. If your partner does not allow you to work outside the home, the problem is much deeper than money. If you are unable to leave your house, you are in a dangerous situation.
#7. The double standard
After you’ve purchased something small for yourself, an abusive partner may make a large purchase with your joint funds. A large, unexpected purchase following a difficult fight is an indication of financial abuse. Of course, this is all about power. Your abusive partner can’t stand the thought of you doing something good for yourself that is bigger than them.
How to Deal With Financial Abuse in Marriage
Realizing you’re in an abusive relationship is a traumatic and difficult reality to face. Creating an escape plan could be your next step, but it will require planning and consideration for your own safety as well as the safety of any children you may have. Here are some steps to take to get out of an abusive relationship:
#1. Make a safety plan.
The victim is most vulnerable when leaving an abusive relationship. The Family Violence Law Center’s executive director, Erin Scott, emphasizes the importance of developing a safety plan before physically leaving an abusive situation. “There are a million variations of this, and each survivor is different,” Scott says. “The first option we explore is finding a safe person to go to, such as a relative or a friend.”
#2. Gather up necessary documents
If you have access to important documents, such as your Social Security card, health insurance card, or passport, Scott recommends bringing them with you when you flee. If you have children, please bring them as well. These documents are frequently required when applying for government benefits or starting a new job.
#3. Pinpoint a safe shelter
Domestic violence shelters, for example, are among the resources available to survivors. These resources are free and will provide you with basic necessities such as toiletries, food, and clothing, as well as provide immediate short-term housing to keep a survivor and their children safe.
How to Recover From Financial Abuse
Knowing the warning signs can assist you in determining whether or not you are a victim of financial abuse. From there, you can devise a strategy to help you escape an abusive situation, and there are resources available to assist you, even if you’ve lost control of your finances.
#1. Get a financial education
One of the most empowering things anyone can do is to become financially literate. It teaches you how to manage your own finances and can provide you with the information you need to rebuild your life after you’ve escaped.
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#2. Take a look at your credit reports and put them on hold.
After leaving the abusive situation, you should assess the extent of your financial damage. This can be accomplished by requesting your credit reports for free from AnnualCreditReport.com. Pulling your credit reports will not reveal your credit scores, but it will provide information on the various accounts open in your name, their balances, and whether or not payments have been made on time.
#3. Take charge of your financial recovery every day at a time
Escaping an abusive relationship is a stressful, frightening, and emotional experience. After leaving and assessing any financial damage caused by financial abuse, you may feel overwhelmed, if not defeated, in rebuilding your personal finances.
Examples of Financial Abuse in Marriage
When a dating partner or spouse uses or has control over your money, they are exploiting your resources. Here are a few examples of this type of exploitation.
- Attempting to limit your use of or access to money that you have earned or saved.
- Using your assets for their personal gain without your permission
- Unauthorized withdrawal of funds or use of credit cards
- Ruining your credit history by exceeding credit limits and then failing to pay bills
- Making claims to make payments or pay bills in your name but failing to follow through
- Borrowing money or charging fees without repaying them
- Believing you have a right to your money or assets
- Requiring you to hand over your paycheck, passwords, and credit cards
- Counting on you to pay their bills or fulfill their obligations
- Use offers to assist you with your budget or financial decisions as a ruse to gain control of your finances.
- Requiring you to bail them out of financial difficulties
- Taking possession of your paycheck or other sources of income
- Obtaining or inspecting your bank statements and other financial records
- Threatening officials with lying and claiming you are “cheating or misusing benefits”
Interfering with your job
When a dating partner or spouse attempts to exert control over your ability to earn money or acquire assets, they are interfering with your earning potential. Here are some examples of job conflict.
- Criticizing and downplaying your job or career choice
- Pressuring you to quit your job, even if it means using your children as an excuse.
- Informing you about where you can and cannot work
- Neglecting your job responsibilities
- Calling, texting, or stopping by at work to harass you
- Interfering with your ability to work by concealing your keys, disconnecting your car battery, taking your car without permission, or offering to babysit and then failing to appear.
If you suspect that your partner or spouse is financially abusive, you should immediately contact an advocate, a counselor, or a religious leader. Financial abuse in marriage is not something that improves over time. In reality, it frequently escalates and can lead to other forms of abuse.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is financial control in a relationship?
Controlling the family resources occurs when a dating partner or spouse has complete control over the money in the relationship and you have little or no access to what you require. Here are some examples of shared resources and assets that can be controlled. Every financial decision you make is being criticized.
What is financial material abuse?
Financial or material abuse can take the form of fraud, theft, or unauthorized use of the vulnerable adults’ property. This could include large sums of money or weekly payments from a pension or allowance.
How do you prove financial abuse UK?
They have prevented you from spending money on necessities. They have taken out credit cards and/or loans in your name without your permission. Furthermore, they have spent your household budget without informing you. All of the bills have been placed in your name by your partner.
Is Financial Abuse grounds for divorce?
When a spouse refuses to pay some or all of these expenses and pressures you into agreeing to a divorce settlement that you would never agree to if you weren’t under economic duress, this is referred to as financial abuse during the divorce. After the divorce is finalized, there is financial abuse.
What is an indicator of financial abuse?
Large, unaccounted-for withdrawals from bank account Unexpected transfer of assets at a time when the elderly person may be unable to manage their own affairs. Accounts were abruptly transferred to another financial institution or branch. Changes in the types of banking activities that are drastic, erratic, or uncharacteristic.