Abuse doesn’t have to mean violence, hitting, punching. It can be emotional or mental too. Economic Abuse doesn’t leave bruises.
The word abuse is often associated with physical, mental or sexual harm, we don’t often consider economic abuse and how destroying this can be for an individual both at the time of it happening and in the future, long after the perpetrator has left; post separation control.
Money can be used to control the financially weaker party in divorce
Don’t stick your head in the sand if you have been a victim of Economic Abuse. You have to move on and the only way to do that is to speak to someone and come up with a plan. Even if you think you have nothing, there will be a way forward.Victim of Economic Abuse – The Group Hug Community
I recently read an article about economic abuse and the stories of the women in this article really upset me. Both had successful careers prior to either having children or having to take leave due to sickness, but ended up struggling financially following separation. Although they are two very different stories, the underlying current across both is one party not being privy to the financial decisions of their spouse, leading to financial failings.
My ex hadn’t paid the rent and had put lots of money onto my credit cards. The Family Court didn’t seem to care that it was fraud as we were married. My ex was determined to try and put me into the gutter. He even told me that!Victim of Economic Abuse – The Group Hug Community
How does it happen?
In most couples, one person will have strengths in areas where the other has weaknesses, so we tend to split responsibility of certain tasks. However, when it comes to finances that can be extremely dangerous, particularly as the relationship starts to break down. We hear the stories where one party has remortgaged the house without their spouse knowing. Or maybe they have racked up credit card debts or withdrawn life savings or pension plans. It might not be possible to stop your ex from taking these types of steps to cause economic abuse, however, if you have a handle on your finances you are more likely to spot the signs and feel comfortable rebuilding your financial portfolio following separation.
The lowest point was when the children and I were declared homeless, but from that, the only way was up, and up we went! I was not going to allow him to think that he had won.Victim of Economic Abuse – The Group Hug Community
Can you move forward after economic abuse?
When I work with clients who are either going through a divorce or have just finalised the process, our first step is to create a budget with their income and outgoings. This allows you to understand where you spend money and if we need to make adjustments based on your income. We will then analyse your assets to understand the level of risk you are taking with your investments and whether the investment provider is offering you the most cost effective terms. At the end of our initial project you will have a clear idea of your incomings and outgoings, how your investments are structured and a cashflow demonstrating how we are going to achieve your long term financial goals. This cashflow is updated every 6 months to check we are on track.
I spoke to a financial advisor and a debt charity. Some of the debts were written off because Economic Abuse is more and more recognised as a form of control and domestic abuse. I reinstated a very small pension I had taken out in my twenties and put a financial plan together. I receive no child maintenance and didn’t get a settlement – even though my ex is loaded! However, everything I do and earn is from my own hard work. I was on benefits for a while until I could get my life back on track, but now I am working and happy. Even more importantly, I am proud to have come out the other side. I am going to be fine.Victim of Economic Abuse – The Group Hug Community
So what is the moral of the story?
- Try and take back control of your finances if you are going through a divorce or if you feel that you are suffering from economic abuse.
- Start making a list of your assets and obtaining up to date valuations.
- List your expenses and your income to understand how much you should be saving or if you need to cut back.
Even if you are happily married it is still a good idea for both parties to understand their combined financial position and to have assets in their own name. Not only is this healthy but it can also be extremely tax efficient for the household.
If you would like a free initial confidential consultation to discuss your financial position feel free to contact me, Katie Nutting. Start your financial recovery journey.