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Ways to identify financial abuse in a marriage

Money issues are one of the leading causes of marital problems in the United States. Sometimes, however, the conflict goes beyond simple disagreements over how the household income is being spent or how much money should be saved. Far too many individuals live under the weight of financial abuse.

One spouse may have control of the finances in the marriage, to the extent that the other individual is only allowed money that the primary earner grants. The primary earner may cut the other spouse off from money altogether, either as an act of control or to punish the spouse.

Here are some ways to identify financial abuse:

  • The primary earner demands that the other spouse not work, even if he or she wants to.
  • The controlling spouse makes demands of the other spouse's career.
  • One spouse charges up excessive debt or takes out credit cards without the other spouse's knowledge or consent (both spouses are liable for debt taken out during the marriage).
  • The controlling spouse refuses to allow the other spouse to have a bank account.
  • The controlling spouse refuses to allow the other spouse to see the family's financial information.
  • The controlling spouse creates a situation where the other spouse is unable to provide for him or herself, and then uses the threat of leaving as a scare tactic.

Often, too often, financial abuse is used in an otherwise abusive marriage to force one spouse, often the wife, to stay.  It is a symptom of the other abuse within the marriage.  It is important to maintain financial security in a marriage.  Far too frequently, money is power within a marriage and, as the saying goes, power corrupts but absolute power corrupts absolutely.  An abusive and controlling spouse can use his partner's financial inability to leave the marriage as a lever and a weapon.  It is important to maintain financial stability, even if just in the form of a personal savings account.  

There are things you can do to get yourself and your children out of this situation. A skilled family law attorney can walk you through proactive steps and options available to you. Even if you are not ready to seek divorce, there are ways you can take control and free yourself from financial abuse.

At Ellis Law Firm, we understand how difficult this situation is for anyone who is living under its weight. We provide compassionate guidance, with utmost discretion. We want to help. Call our offices today for a consultation.

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