What do you think of when you hear the words "domestic abuse"? Most people think of physical violence committed by one partner against the other, or perhaps "gaslighting," a form of psychological abuse where one partner attempts to make their spouse question their own sanity.
Most people don't immediately think of the financial abuse victims can suffer when their spouses financially abuse them. Indeed, some victims -- usually females -- may not even realize they are being victimized financially.
Yet, it is far more common than most people realize. Research done by the Allstate Foundation Purple Purse Program discovered that financial abuse is an element of nearly all cases of domestic violence. However, not even a quarter of Americans are aware this is an issue.
Could it be happening to you?
Domestic abuse is inherently about one spouse attempting to maintain control over the other. Financial abuse is just another weapon in the abusers' arsenals to leverage control over their victims.
Check out the below red flags to determine whether you may be victimized financially by your spouse or partner.
You can't access financial accounts
In some marriages, one spouse may be designated to manage the couple's finances. That's not unusual or abusive, since the other spouse typically can log onto the accounts at will and check balances.
But when the other spouse doesn't know the passwords or is not allowed to review the monthly statements, that's a major red flag that all is not as it should be.
Refusing to talk about money matters
There is no doubt that some conversations about finances can be downright difficult, but are still necessary. If your spouse shuts down all discussions of finances, something may be amiss with the accounts that he would prefer stay hidden.
Restricting the amount of money you can have
This situation typically arises when only one spouse is a wage-earner and the working spouse gets his paycheck direct-deposited into an individual account. He then transfers only small amounts into the joint account. This effectively leaves the non-working spouse dependent upon the other for her every need.
Having to hide purchases
Have you ever felt the need to hide a purchase of a new outfit or downplayed the cost of a haircut or other grooming expense? If so, you may be an unknowing victim of financial abuse in your marriage.
Your spouse says he will abandon you
If your spouse uses threats of fiscal insolvency to "keep you in line," that's a prime example of financial abuse. Few women, especially those with children, want to contemplate being left impoverished and lacking the means to live. Their husbands realize this and use it to their advantage.
It's important to understand that you don't have to live under the financial thumb of your spouse. Learn all about your rights under Colorado law in order to break free.