How to Recognize Financial Abuse as Domestic Violence
Domestic violence is more than just hitting and shoving a partner. In fact, at its core, it really is not about hurting the victim as much as it is about controlling him or her. There are many different ways to control a victim and some of them do not involve any physical contact. One way to control a victim is to control his or her financial freedom.
Financial control is domestic violence. In many households, one partner is the primary breadwinner or financial manager. This type of arrangement is not, in itself, financial abuse. Financial abuse occurs when one partner limits the other’s access to money in order to render him or her financially dependent. Below are a few symptoms of a financially abusive relationship.
You Can Not Earn Your Own Money
One significant way a controlling partner can commit financial abuse is by prohibiting the dependent partner from working or otherwise earning his or her own money. Sometimes, this is accompanied by emotional and psychological abuse, like convincing the victim that he or she is unemployable.
You Have No Say in How Your Household Funds are Spent
Another hallmark of financial abuse is shutting a partner out of household financial decisions. Even in marriages where one partner stays home to care for the couple’s household and children, significant purchases and other financial decisions should always be made jointly.
Your Partner Steals From You or Feels Entitled to Your Money
In some financially abusive relationships, the victim is permitted to work, but he or she is required to hand all earnings over to the abusive partner. Other types of financial abuse in this vein include stealing from the victim and using his or her identity to make purchases without his or her consent.
You Work for Free at the Family Business
A type of financial abuse that can easily be overlooked is exploiting the victim’s labor. Keep in mind that when you run a business, some sacrifices are going to have to happen, and you might not see a profit for months or even years after launching. The difference between sacrificing to build a business and being financially abused is whether you chose to work for little or no money or if you were coerced into doing so. Similarly, if you are expected to work at a business your partner or family owns with little or no compensation despite its financial success, you are being financially exploited.
Work with an Experienced Grand Rapids Divorce Lawyer
If you have faced financial abuse in your marriage, you need to get out and get yourself safe. Once you have left the household, contact an experienced divorce lawyer to discuss your options for ending your contact with your partner, which could include a personal protection order, separate maintenance, or filing for divorce. Contact Van Den Heuvel Law Office today to schedule your initial legal consultation with us.