Many women have asked me what to do in case of financial abuse. You may be helpless and see no solution. However the truth is different.
We are all afraid of changes and doing something with financial abuse can frighten you. What will the family say? What about the children?
Make the cost-benefit analysis
Write down all the reasons why you should stay in this abusive relationship or move on. I am sure that there will be more reasons for ending this relatitonship.
Plan your way slowly or swiftly out of this relationship and leave
Relationships with financial abuse can never be trusted to become equitable since so much of it is about power and control. Reach out to trusted friends, relatives or even a local church who many be able to house you until you’re able to get on your feet.
If you can safely do so, transfer your assets into a separate bank account. Make inquiries as to where your household’s assets are, and how much debt you have.
Keep a copy of all your important papers
This includes bank statements, social security numbers, birth and marriage certificates and documentation of jointly held assets. It’s important that you have a physical copy somewhere outside of the house. It is even advisable to keep these copies at your friend’s house or in a safe.
Skim money from whatever is given to you and save little by little
Every penny adds up. You canpen a bank account in secret and stash your money until you’re ready to leave. Ask friends and family for donations to this account while noting you will pay them back once you are on your feet. Start a blog and learn how to monetize it.
Before you leave, work on your self-esteem and assertiveness skills
Your partner has to know that you are strong and financial dependence will not frighten you. Talk to your counsellor – either face-to-face or online, outside the house or when your abusive partner is not there. Sometimes being more self-confident will be enough to change your partner’s behaviour. He will feel in danger of losing the object of his control – and over who else could he have power then?
As soon as you leave, change all your PIN’s to codes that are not easily identifiable
Remember to void using your or your children’s birthdays. Call the issuers of any joint accounts and have your name removed. It will not protect you from existing debt, but it will insulate you from having to pay for anything incurred after you leave.
If you do have a joint account, withdraw half of the assets
Unfortunately, many women don’t want to do this. They say, ‘That will make me just as bad as he is. He wouldn’t ever do that to me,’Yet then the abuser escalates his behavior in an effort to gain back control, and the woman tries to withdraw money only to find all assets have been drained.
Get a job in secret
For example you can say that you’re volunteering and get a job walking dogs or babysitting while he is away or working during the day. Or find a position working from home, online. The next step is to secure the money on a separate bank account or in a safe, which will not be accessible by your partner. This will give you more self-confidence and options available, when the worst scenario (ending the relationshp) happens.
Get back on your feet
Send a copy of any court orders to the credit company explaining your situation if you are liable for any debts, . Also, send a letter to credit reporting agencies. Such extenuating circumstances may help you qualify for a credit card.
Take care to work on rehabilitating your credit score
You may have to settle for a credit card with a high APR until enough time has passed. You can post collateral for a secured credit card, (it extends you as much credit as the amount you’ve posted), if you have assets stashed away, . Secured credit cards, unlike prepaid debit cards, help to raise your credit score.
If you have no idea how to manage your finance because your partner did this, ask your friend for advice. In this way, you will be able to take the necessary steps to be more independent and even start a new, happier life.
Author: Victoria Herocten Writer and coach.
Since 2009 she helps women with abuse to start over and how to be happy .
The co-author of the bestseller“Gratitude Book”.