4 warning signs of a financially abusive marriage

On Behalf of | Mar 19, 2024 | Divorce

Financial abuse is a form of domestic violence that occurs, in part, when one partner takes control of finances to limit the other partner’s ability to access money and other resources. Because of its subtlety, many people overlook the warning signs.

If you suspect you may be in a financially abusive relationship, there are some signs to watch for.

1. Your partner controls all of the finances

In healthy relationships, couples share finances to some degree. An abusive partner may take complete control of bank accounts, credit cards and other assets. They may forbid you from having your own money or even knowing about household finances while making major financial decisions without discussing anything with you. This enables them to limit your access to funds as a way to control you.

2. You have to ask for money

While couples often have systems for managing money, financial abuse takes it to the extreme. An abusive partner may require you to ask for money, berate you for your spending choices, force you to account for every penny you spend, or set an allowance among other tactics. By keeping you financially dependent, they maintain power in the relationship.

3. You cannot work or go to school

Abusers often prevent partners from working or going to school to stop them from becoming financially independent. They may sabotage jobs or school attendance by starting fights before interviews or exams. They might also actively interfere with your ability to work, such as not providing childcare or making transportation to work impossible.

4. Your partner damaged your credit or limited access to credit

Damaging a partner’s credit is another insidious form of financial abuse. Abusers may take out credit cards in their partner’s name or force them to take on high-interest debt. They may also refuse to make payments on jointly held debts or bills, ruining their partner’s credit. A damaged credit history makes it harder to rent an apartment, get utilities, or get credit to leave. Also, a partner may remove you as an authorized user, cancel joint cards, or reduce the credit limit so that you have limited access to credit.

Financial abuse in intimate relationships is more common than many realize. If you see signs like these in your relationship, know that help is available. Meridian Family Law can help if you are splitting from your partner and find yourself in this type of situation.