Perhaps your spouse has provided well for you during your marriage. You live in a nice home, take extravagant vacations and have every necessity. However, if you are considering divorce, you may feel frustrated and even frightened about how you would manage since you have no access to cash.
You may be one of many in Arizona who are victims of financial abuse by their partners. This may happen when someone who earns considerably more than his or her spouse controls the money in such a way as to deny the spouse any access to it. While sometimes this kind of control includes physical violence, often it is a form of emotional abuse that can leave you feeling trapped, afraid and with no resources to help you escape.
Widespread control of your life
As comfortable as your life may seem to outsiders, it is a daily struggle for you if your spouse is financially abusive. If you want to make a purchase on your own, do you have to ask for money? Does your spouse often deny your request by saying the item you want is foolish or a waste of money? Does your spouse constantly remind you that he or she is the one who earns the money and therefore can make the decisions about how to spend it?
It is not merely about spending and buying things. Financial control can affect many areas of your life:
- Your job: Your spouse forces you to quit your job or sabotages it by harassing you while you are at work. Not only does this prevent you from earning money, but it may cut you off from friends and co-workers who could potentially help you.
- Your income: Your spouse takes any money you earn or receive without your permission.
- Your accounts: If your spouse allows you a separate bank account, he or she checks it frequently, perhaps daily, not as a way of maintaining the family budget, but as a warning that you should not be spending.
- Your credit: Your spouse uses your credit card without your permission, runs up enormous debt or takes out more credit in your name to destroy your credit rating so you will be unable to seek financing or other opportunities on your own.
- Your self-worth: Your spouse may constantly remind you that he or she has the power in the marriage and that you have nothing. This may include belittling you or breaking down your confidence.
You may believe your spouse’s warnings that you own nothing. However, the laws in Arizona allow for a fair distribution of marital assets during divorce. Even if you signed a prenuptial agreement, a skillful attorney will question the validity of a document signed under your circumstances. Seeking assistance as early as possible after your decision to divorce is a wise move.