Understanding Financial Abuse and Surviving It

Financial abuse during a divorce can feel overwhelming, but understanding its signs and knowing how to seek help can empower you to reclaim your financial independence and build a secure future.
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Key Points:

  • Financial abuse is a form of domestic violence where one partner uses financial control to exert power over the other.

  • Common behaviors of financial abusers include controlling access to money, interfering with employment, exploiting resources, forcing debt, and manipulating financial documents. 

  • Surviving financial abuse involves seeking professional help, gathering financial documents, opening separate accounts, creating a budget, seeking emotional support, taking legal action, and educating oneself about financial rights. 

Divorce is a challenging and often painful process, especially when it involves financial abuse. This form of abuse can leave victims feeling powerless and trapped. Understanding what financial abuse entails, recognizing its signs, and knowing how to overcome it are crucial steps in reclaiming your financial independence. If you’re considering divorce, navigating the process, or seeking post-divorce support, our round-the-clock 24-hour professional services and free expert articles are here to assist you every step of the way.

What is Financial Abuse?

Financial abuse is a type of domestic violence where one partner uses financial means to control the other. This can involve restricting access to money, controlling how funds are spent, or preventing a partner from working. Financial abuse often accompanies other forms of abuse, such as emotional or physical, and can leave victims feeling isolated and dependent.

Types of Financial Abuse

Financial abuse generally falls into three main categories:

  1. Control of Financial Resources: One partner takes complete control over household finances, makes all financial decisions, and restricts access to bank accounts or credit cards.

  2. Exploitation and Sabotage: The abuser may steal money or assets, use the partner’s credit without permission, or sabotage their efforts to become financially independent by preventing them from working or pursuing education.

  3. Economic Exploitation: This involves forcing the victim to incur debt, often through coercion or fraud. The abuser might take out loans in the victim’s name or use their credit cards without permission, leading to financial burdens and damaged credit.

Behaviors of Financial Abuse

Recognizing financial abuse is the first step towards addressing it. Common behaviors include:

  • Controlling Access to Money: The abuser keeps the victim on a strict allowance, monitors their spending, or denies them access to bank accounts and credit cards.
  • Interfering with Employment: The abuser may prevent the victim from working, sabotage their job opportunities, or harass them at work.
  • Exploiting Resources: The abuser might steal money or assets, force the victim to sell possessions, or use their financial resources for personal gain without consent.
  • Forcing Debt: The abuser coerces the victim into taking out loans, opens credit accounts in their name, or accumulates debt on their behalf without their knowledge or consent.
  • Manipulating Financial Documents: The abuser hides or destroys financial documents, forges signatures, or provides false information to control the victim’s financial situation.

How to Survive Financial Abuse

Surviving financial abuse requires a combination of strategic planning, emotional support, and professional guidance. Here are some steps to help you regain control and build a secure financial future:

1. Seek Professional Help

Engaging with professionals who understand financial abuse is crucial. At DivorcePlus, we offer 24-hour divorce services to provide immediate assistance when you need it most. Our online divorce lawyers and online divorce coaches are available to guide you through the legal and emotional aspects of divorce.

2. Gather Financial Documents

Collect and secure important financial documents, such as bank statements, credit reports, tax returns, and property deeds. Having these documents readily available will help you understand your financial situation and plan your next steps.

3. Open Separate Accounts

Open separate bank accounts and credit cards in your name only to establish financial independence and prevent your abuser from accessing your funds. Choose secure locations for mailing addresses and account notifications.

4. Create a Budget and Financial Plan

Work with a financial advisor or a certified divorce financial analyst like Jamie Lima to create a budget and financial plan tailored to your needs. This will help you manage your finances effectively and set achievable goals for your future.

5. Seek Emotional Support

Financial abuse can take a significant emotional toll. Connecting with a life coach or a support group can provide the emotional support you need to navigate this challenging time. They can offer guidance, encouragement, and practical advice to help you rebuild your life.

6. Legal Action

Taking legal action against your abuser may be necessary. An online divorce lawyer can help you understand your legal rights and options, including filing for a restraining order or pursuing financial restitution.

7. Educate Yourself

Knowledge is power. Take advantage of free expert articles and resources to educate yourself about financial abuse and your rights. Understanding the signs and tactics of financial abuse will empower you to take proactive steps towards your recovery.

Our Commitment to You

At DivorcePlus, we understand that dealing with financial abuse can be overwhelming. Our commitment is to provide you with the support, resources, and professional guidance you need to navigate this difficult time. Whether you need urgent care for divorce, ongoing coaching, or legal assistance, our team is here for you 24/7.

Our round-the-clock 24-hour divorce services ensure that you have access to expert advice and support whenever you need it. Our online divorce coaches and online divorce lawyers are dedicated to helping you achieve a fair resolution to your divorce, while our life coaches provide the emotional support and guidance necessary for healing and rebuilding your life.


Financial abuse is a serious issue that affects countless individuals, leaving them feeling trapped and powerless. Recognizing the signs of financial abuse and understanding the steps to survive it are crucial for reclaiming your independence and building a secure future. Remember, you are not alone. With the right support and resources, you can overcome financial abuse and thrive.

If you or someone you know is experiencing financial abuse, don’t hesitate to seek help. Visit DivorcePlus for 24-hour divorce services, connect with an online divorce lawyer, or find an online divorce coach to get started on the path to recovery. Your journey to a brighter, abuse-free future begins today.

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