Domestic violence comes in many forms. Although it can be blatantly obvious physical or emotional abuse, it can also take less obvious forms. Domestic violence is about controlling a partner’s behavior. Whether an individual’s behavior is controlled through the fear of physical harm, a demolished sense of self worth, or through direct financial control, he or she is a victim of domestic violence.
Financial control is not as easy as other forms of domestic violence to recognize. This is because it does not leave visual scars and because there is a taboo about discussing finances in many social circles. But it can be as harmful as other forms of domestic violence because it keeps the victim dependent on his or her abuser. It can also be present in relationships where other forms of domestic violence are present as well.
Examples of Financial Control
Determining whether an action is an act of financial control can be difficult because it is not uncommon for one partner in a couple to handle the bulk of the couple’s finances. In a healthy relationship with this dynamic, both partners make financial decisions and contribute equally to the couple’s pool of money. In a financially abusive relationship, one partner makes all the financial decisions and may treat the other like a child.
Examples of financial control include:
- Forbidding one’s partner from working;
- Forbidding one’s partner from going to school or making any other attempt to become employable;
- Giving one’s partner an allowance;
- Refusing to allow one’s partner access to joint bank accounts;
- Hiding assets from a partner;
- Stealing one’s partner’s identity or property;
- Ruining one’s partner’s credit score by accruing debt in his or her name and failing to pay it off;
- Forcing one’s partner to perform unpaid labor in a for-profit venture; and
- Making all financial decisions without consulting one’s partner.
If You are In a Financially Abusive Relationship
There are resources available for you. The Florida Coalition Against Domestic Violence can connect you with a shelter and other resources. Form an escape plan that will allow you to leave the home safely.
You might need to seek an injunction, also known as a restraining order, to keep your partner from contacting you and potentially causing you harm after you leave. With an injunction in place, you can receive a police escort to your abuser’s home to collect your belongings and feel safe knowing that your partner will face penalties if he or she violates the terms of the injunction.
Work with an Experienced Winter Park Divorce Lawyer
You might be in an abusive relationship without realizing it. If you determine that your relationship is not a healthy one, leave the home and get yourself to a safe place, such as a shelter for domestic violence victims or a friend’s home. Then, start taking steps to end the marriage. Speak with experienced divorce lawyer Aubrey Harry Ducker, Jr. of Sperling Ducker in Winter Park during your initial consultation to learn more about leaving an abusive marriage and protecting yourself throughout the divorce process.