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What is financial abuse?

A recent report finds approximately 70% of millennial women are the victims of financial abuse. Financial abuse occurs when a spouse or other romantic partner uses money to control or manipulate their partner.

How do I know if financial abuse is occurring?

Common signs can include:

  • Control. It is not uncommon for partners to delegate different duties. One may take the lead in household chores or managing children while the other takes on the financial responsibilities of the household. Although this balance is often very helpful, partners should still openly communicate. A failure to share information about finances is a red flag.
  • Questionable accounts. Take note if you suddenly notice bills or mailings from unfamiliar financial institutions or credit cards.
  • Discourage professional development. Even if a partner chooses to stay at home, a failure to support that partner’s professional development is concerning. This could indicate a desire to control the partner’s access to money.

These are just a few of the more common signs of financial abuse. Additional examples can vary depending on the details of each relationship.

What should I do if my partner is a financial abuser?

If you suspect financial abuse is present in your relationship, start a conversation with your partner. If the conversation is not productive, consider getting professional help.

It is important to seek legal counsel during a divorce if you are concerned your partner will attempt to hide a significant portion of assets. An attorney experienced in navigating financial matters can help to better ensure all assets are accounted for during the divorce process, better ensuring a fair divorce settlement agreement.