How To Recognize Financial Abuse


Financial abuse (or economic abuse) is not something that you hear about very often, though much attention is paid to other forms of domestic abuse. Oftentimes,  one partner in a relationship is not as familiar with or in control of the couple's finances, though financial abuse is not just ignorance of the financial facts. Financial abuse is a power imbalance between two partners used to control the behavior of one of the partners. 

Some of the signs of financial abuse are:

  • Your partner steals money from you or your family.
  • Your partner compels you to grant him/her access to your bank accounts in order to make transactions without your involvement.
  • Your partner forces you to cash in assets and turn them over or to sign title of the assets over to him/her (i.e. stocks, bonds, vehicles, other property).
  • Your partner forces you to meticulously account for all of your spending (i.e. demanding receipts).
  • Your partner forces you to turn over your paychecks or other income.
  • Your partner puts you on an allowance despite your objections.
  • Your partner overuses your credit cards.
  • Your partner refuses to pay bills that are in your name.
  • Your partner prevents you from working, attending school or training to enhance or get new skills.
  • Your partner refuses to provide you with necessities such as food, clothing, medications or shelter.
  • Your partner forces you to sign over power of attorney so he/she can sign legal documents on your behalf.
  • Your partner forces you to work in a family or closely-held business for little or no pay.
  • Your partner involves you in shady tax or business dealings.

While some of these signs may not, in and of themselves, be financial abuse, they are certainly red flags and may be indicative of financial or other abuse within your relationship.


DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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