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Dealing with financial abusive behavior by a romantic partner

Within the context of a romantic partnership, abuse can take many forms. Physical abuse can lead to devastating physical injuries, while emotional abuse can lead to psychological scars. Both of these kinds of domestic abuse are relatively well understood and various networks of support exist to help those who have been victimized in these ways by their romantic partners. However, an additional form of partner-related abuse is far less understood. But lack of understanding does not make combating this kind of abuse any less essential to the wellbeing of those it affects.

Financial abuse occurs when one romantic partner exerts extraordinary amounts of control over his or her partner's finances. Of course, there are situations in which an individual can exert this kind of control and not be abusive in doing so. For example, if a spouse is gravely ill and the other spouse makes all the couple's financial decisions as a result, this may be a situation in which this kind of control is exerted as a form of support. However, in other circumstances, financially abusive behavior allows one spouse to keep the other under his or her control.

Signs of financial abuse are not always easy to detect, simply because so many marriages can function in healthy ways even when some of these signs are present. However, signs of financial abuse combined with shaming, threats, emotional manipulation and other unhealthy behaviors can be symptoms of a terrible and pressing problem.

If your romantic partner is displaying any of the following signs and you are concerned that you may be a victim of financial abuse, please do not hesitate to speak to an experienced attorney. If your romantic partner is forcing you to stay in or avoid certain careers, is tracking all of your financial transactions, has control over your bank account or will not allow you to open one or is otherwise manipulating you through your finances, you may be experiencing financial abuse.

Source: The Huffington Post, "Financial Abuse: 6 Signs and What You Can Do About it," Ginger Dean, July 28, 2014

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