With as many as one in four women having reported experiencing domestic violence in their lifetime it is a prevalent problem that requires as much knowledge as possible. In the United States, there are more than 5 million women who are subjected to physical violence by their boyfriends or husbands every year. It can be a difficult struggle for a woman to escape from an abusive relationship, they may feel powerless and in constant fear of violence. Women who have a controlling spouse are often kept out of the financial aspects of the marriage as money is often used as a means of controlling the situation.
According to a financial strategist for divorce, women in abusive marriages generally know very little about the family finances or how to strike out on their own to gain financial independence. It happens all too often when a woman decides to initiate a divorce she learns how much her abusive husband controls all the money, including the house, vehicles, savings and any investments. Add children to the mix and you have a volatile and complex emotional and financial divorce case. Therefore it is important for abused women to understand there is hope and there are resources available that can help.
It will not be easy, but it is necessary to obtain the professional support needed to break free from an abusive environment so financial freedom can become a reality. There are a number of strategies that can be employed to help an abused spouse create financial independence before initiating a divorce, including obtaining a Post Office box to receive mail privately. Find someplace outside the home to store copies of important documents, such as bank statements, birth certificates and Social Security information.
Beware of the possibility that spyware has been installed on a home computer before communicating with anyone regarding your intentions. Find out as much information as you safely can about marital finances and assets and open a separate bank account in your own name to start saving money. Think about changing passwords and PIN numbers to more complex configurations. But the most important thing is to keep you and your children safe from harm. Seek help and remember – you do not have to go it alone.
There are a number of community organizations, counselors and therapists available who can offer immediate support. Knowledge is power and you can use it to your benefit with proper planning and the desire to break free.
Source: The Huffington Post, “For Divorcing Women In Abusive Relationships, Knowledge Is Power,” Jeffrey A. Landers, Nov. 21, 2012
Our New Jersey law firm helps families in transition, including issues involving domestic violence, restraining orders and divorce. Please visit our website if you would like to learn more about our domestic violence and family law services, including obtaining temporary restraining orders to protect you and your children.