FINANCES IN AN ABUSIVE RELATIONSHIP
The National Domestic Violence Hotline defines domestic violence as a pattern of behaviors used by one partner to maintain power and control over another partner in an intimate relationship. An abuser commits domestic violence to prevent their partner from taking control of their own life and decisions in order to force their partner to behave in a way that is consistent with the needs of their abuser. For more information see http://www.thehotline.org/is-this-abuse/abuse-defined.
Domestic violence can be grouped into three (3) main categories: (1) physical; (2) emotional/psychological; and (3) financial. While many partners in an abusive relationship recognize physical and emotional violence, financial abuse is not always so obvious or easily recognized. There is a strong tendency to minimize the financial abuse or to accept their partner’s behavior as “normal”.
Financial abuse is a subtle method of abuse and control. An abuser who uses finances to maintain control of his or her partner does so by:
- Preventing their partner from getting or keeping a job;
- Making their partner ask for money or account for all money spent;
- Giving their partner a limited allowance;
- Taking their partner’s money or paychecks;
- Keeping family finances secret;
- Denying their partner access to family income, checking and savings accounts, credit cards, and other financial information and records; and
- Refusing to buy basic necessities, such as food and clothing.
Based on this type of behavior, the abused partner is forced to solely depend on the abuser financially and may be reluctant to leave the abusive partner because they are scared that they can’t support themselves and the children after separation.
There is help for victims of financial abuse. In Arizona, when parties separate, the obligation of a spouse to support the other does not necessarily end. Arizona law provides for the division of community property and accounts, child support and even spousal support in appropriate cases to allow them to become financially independent and able to support themselves.
One of the experienced attorneys here at OWENS & PERKINS would be happy to speak with you and discuss your specific legal situation. If you would like to schedule an appointment please call us at (480) 630-2464 or CLICK HERE to schedule your free 30-minute consultation.