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Are you a victim of financial abuse?

Most people think of the abuse of one spouse by another as physical in nature or perhaps verbal or emotional. However, some people are victims of financial abuse. Often (in fact 99 percent of the time) people who are physically abused are also financially abused. Both, after all, are means of controlling a spouse or partner.

Most financial abuse victims, particularly women who are older and grew up during a time when husbands controlled the pocketbook and bank accounts, may not even realize that they are being abused. While victims of physical violence may be afraid to leave their spouse, victims of financial abuse may not have the money to do so or the good credit necessary to make it on their own and take care of their children.

Financial abuse may involve controlling their access to money -- even to their own paychecks. Financial abusers may put their spouses on an "allowance" and/or require them to provide receipts for all of their purchases.

These last two things may sound like something out of "I Love Lucy." However, they are still used as controlling mechanisms by some spouses.

Their methods may be more devious. They may try to prevent their spouse from getting promoted or seeking a higher-paying job because they want to be the primary breadwinner. They may not make them aware of money that, in part, belongs to them.

Controlling and even destroying a spouse's credit rating is another common form of financial abuse. The abuser may rack up debt in the other spouse's name without telling him or her. It's not hard to get credit cards or lines of credit in someone else's name if you know that person's personal information like their Social Security number.

The head of the Institute for Women's Policy Research's Economic Security for Survivors Project says, "These are very planned, deliberate acts that abusers do to limit victims and prevent them from breaking free."

Getting out of a relationship where there's domestic violence can be even more challenging when there has been financial abuse. A Nevada family law attorney can provide guidance on determining what money you're entitled to have and provide resources for helping you get on your feet financially.

Source: Good Money, "The Hidden Face of Financial Abuse," Lisa Rabasca Roepe, accessed May 17, 2017

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