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Recognizing Financial Abuse In Your Relationship


When most people think of domestic violence, they think of physical violence against a partner. Physical violence is just one of the ways an abusive individual can exert control over a partner. Others include emotional abuse, psychological abuse, and financial abuse. Financial abuse is control through the restriction of money access. It can easily be overlooked and go unnoticed by victims and their support networks because of the cultural taboos about discussing personal finances and ingrained gender roles regarding household funds.

Any type of domestic violence is unacceptable. For resources like confidential advice from a trained advocate to help leaving your home, contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline. When you face domestic violence, your best option is to file for divorce.

Signs of Financial Abuse in a Relationship

As mentioned above, financial abuse can be easy to overlook. It can look like frugality and financial conscientiousness to an outside observer. Financial abuse is not about saving money and making prudent financial choices; it is about restricting how an individual uses money. Financial abuse can include:

  • Requiring a partner to hand over his or her paycheck;
  • Prohibiting a partner from working;
  • Using a partner’s identity to open lines of credit and make purchases without his or her consent;
  • Prohibiting a partner from making purchases, owning a credit card, or carrying money;
  • Making financial decisions for the household without consulting one’s partner;
  • Refusing to give a partner access to shared financial accounts; and
  • Stealing from one’s partner.

Sometimes, financial abuse is less direct. Prohibiting a partner from driving to effectively prevent him or her from working can be considered a form of financial abuse. Similarly, forcing a partner to work at one’s business for no pay is another form of financial abuse.

All Forms of Domestic Violence are About Control

By restricting an individual’s access to money, an abusive partner keeps that individual under control. This is the same goal of all other types of domestic violence, like emotionally manipulating a partner into staying in a relationship or tampering with a partner’s birth control to keep him or her in the marriage through reproductive coercion.

In a healthy relationship, the couple works together to make financial decisions. Often, budgeting is necessary, and it is not abusive for a partner to veto a household purchase or to tell his or her spouse what they can afford to spend. Household financial planning crosses the line to financial abuse when one partner has all the power to control the money flow and the other must comply or face punishment.

Work with an Experienced Tampa Divorce Lawyer

If you are facing any type of domestic violence in your marriage, get help. Once you are safely out of the home, speak with an experienced divorce lawyer about enacting a protective order and starting the divorce process. When you are ready, contact our team of Tampa divorce lawyers at Bubley & Bubley, P.A. to set up your initial legal consultation in our office.

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Bubley & Bubley, P.A. is located in Tampa, FL and serves clients in and around Brandon, Odessa, Tampa, Oldsmar, Land O Lakes, Thonotosassa, Valrico, Wesley Chapel, Lutz, St Petersburg, Plant City & Brooksville, Safety Harbor, Holiday, Trilby, Crystal Beach, Ozona, Apollo Beach, New Port Richey, Clearwater, Tarpon Springs, Port Richey, San Antonio, Spring Hill, Lithia, Pasco County and Pinellas County.

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