Many people think of domestic abuse as physical abuse, but the truth is there are many ways abusers can control and manipulate their partners.
Financial abuse is extremely common and forces many victims to remain in relationships with abusive intimate partners much longer than they wish.
Recognizing financial abuse
You may be a victim of marital financial exploitation if:
- Your spouse refuses to share financial information and access to funds with you
- Your spouse intentionally destroys your credit by opening accounts in your name and defaulting on the payments
- Your spouse prevents you from earning income by sabotaging your employment or job search
Abusers use these tactics to keep their partners dependent on them for money, so they will feel powerless to leave the relationship.
Learning to live independently
Your abuser may not go away quietly after your divorce. Therefore, it is important to break all financial ties. First, change your banking passwords and remove any tracking or sharing software from devices that your ex could be monitoring. Open your own accounts and request to eliminate your association with your ex from your credit report. Take financial literacy courses and empower yourself to manage your own money. Lastly, seek support from a professional therapist or counselor who can validate your feelings and help you work through challenges that arise as you rebuild your life.
Escaping an abusive marriage can feel overwhelming, and your financial situation may get worse before it gets better. Just know that you are not alone and you can get through this difficult time.