Spousal financial abuse Most couples will have arguments about money at some point during their relationships – and these arguments can be healthy and even productive. But if your spouse rigidly controls the family’s finances to the point where you feel isolated, defrauded, and desperate, you may be a victim of economic abuse, a form of emotional spousal abuse.

You May Be a Victim of Financial Abuse If:

•    Your partner prevents you from taking a job outside the home or forces you to quit your job.
•    Your partner gives you a small allowance that you do not agree with.
•    Your partner steals from you or forces you to turn over your paychecks.
•    Your partner sabotages your job by regularly making you miss work or be late for work.
•    Your partner takes your name off of all of your accounts.
•    Your partner takes away your credit cards, checks, or other access to money.
•    Your partner does not allow you to have money and does not provide you with basic necessities, such as food, clothing, medication, or shelter.
•    Your partner demands to know every time that you spend money.
•    You have so little financial control that you don’t see how you could leave your partner.

Just like all other forms of domestic abuse, financial abuse and economic abuse is all about control. If you feel like you must depend on your spouse for basic necessities like food and shelter – or if you feel you could never find a job or support yourself if you ever left – you may be the victim of financial spousal abuse. To get help in Washington State, visit our page of domestic abuse resources.

Molly B. Kenny
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Divorce and Child Custody Attorney Serving Bellevue and Seattle Washington