What Is Financial Abuse?

 Posted on October 31, 2016 in Domestic Violence

Kane County divorce attorneysIn many marriages, one partner is the breadwinner, meaning that he or she earns the bulk of the household's money. It is not uncommon for the breadwinner to also have the majority of the control over the household's finances, often because this position allows him or her to make purchasing and investment decisions more accurately. But sometimes, a breadwinner can use his or her position to abuse a partner, creating a dynamic where the partner is completely dependent on him or her. This is known as financial abuse and it is a form of domestic violence.

Financial abuse is discussed less frequently than other types of domestic violence because it can be harder to recognize. Like other forms of domestic violence, financial abuse is a way to control one's partner. A financially abusive relationship might appear to be harmonious from the outside, but it is not healthy.

Examples of Financial Abuse

Financial abuse can take many forms and may occur if one spouse is:

  • Prohibiting a partner from taking a job or enrolling in school to make him- or herself employable;
  • Preventing a partner from accessing money;
  • Accruing high levels of debt on joint accounts without a partner's consent;
  • Forcing the victim to work in a business venture without pay;
  • Stealing the victim's identity to make purchases;
  • Giving a partner an allowance and using this allowance as a way to coerce desired behavior from him or her; and                               
  • Making significant financial decisions without a partner's consent.

It is important to recognize that when financial abuse occurs, it is done in an effort to maintain control over a partner.

Getting Out of a Financially Abusive Marriage

It can be extremely difficult for a victim of financial abuse to leave his or her marriage because in many cases, he or she does not have a vehicle or money to access public transportation. If you are in this type of relationship and you are ready to leave it, call the Illinois Domestic Violence hotline. This hotline will connect you to the Domestic Violence Victim Services department of the Illinois Department of Human Services. The representative who takes your call can help you create an exit strategy and arrange for transportation from your home to a domestic violence victim shelter.

Once you are out of the home and safe, consider filing an order of protection, also known as a restraining order, to keep your former partner from contacting or harming you.

Work With an Experienced Kane County Divorce Lawyer

Many victims of financial abuse do not realize they are being abused. Sometimes this is because an individual does not realize that abuse is not always physical and in other cases, it is because he or she has internalized ideas about financial security and roles within a marriage. But when access to money is used to control an individual's behavior, that individual is a victim of financial abuse. To learn more about the multiple types of domestic violence and how you can end your unhealthy marriage, set up a consultation with our team of Kane County divorce lawyers at the Goostree Law Group.





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