12 Steps to Protect Your Finances When Leaving an Abusive Relationship

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Lisa Orban was married to her abuser for three years. In 1990, she left after he threatened to kill her and their two young children.  She was 20 years old. Her financial situation in the marriage?  “Bad, in a nutshell,” she recalls. Not unusual for the time, her  husband was the main breadwinner, and he managed the finances.  “Whenever there was a chance that I might make enough money  or make more money than him or do anything to upset his  financial apple cart, so to speak, he would come in and  sabotage it.”

She lost multiple jobs because of his meddling. She moved with  him from her hometown in Illinois to Arizona for college, where  she’d won a four-year scholarship to study psychology. Before  she could start, he contacted the university and told them she’d  decided to drop out. “Imagine my surprise when I go to  registration day and find out that my scholarship is gone,” she says.

He even had control of the mailbox. He took her key, though she  thought she’d just lost it, and put off replacing it. That had major, unexpected financial ramifications. “It wasn’t until after we were divorced that I found out that I had not paid off my student loan.” The $4,000 loan ultimately cost her $38,000 to repay, she says.

The checks Orban thought were going into the mail were not, and the missed payment notices from her loan providers weren’t getting to her. He kept control of the checking account. He wouldn’t let her use the car alone. He knew how much money she earned, and he would accompany her to the bank to deposit her paychecks. He signed up for credit cards in her name.

By the time Orban left and filed for divorce, she was $80,000 in debt and didn’t even know about it.

About 1 in 4 women and 1 in 7 men will experience severe intimate partner violence in their lifetime, according to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report. Of those who experience violence, 98% also experience financial abuse. So what are ways you can protect your finances in a situation like this?

Steps to Prepare Your Finances Before Leaving
1. Connect with a Victim Advocate
2. Save Money
3. Make Copies of Important Documents
4. Cut Ties and Open a New Bank Account
5. Find a Financial Advisor
6. Find an Attorney.

Steps to Rebuild Your Finance After Leaving
7. Get a Copy of Your Credit Report
8. Find Resolution on Lingering Debts
9. Create a New Budget
10. Rebuild Your Credit
11. If You Need to, Find a New Job and Housing
12. Prepare for Financial Success

As advocates at Haven House, we often see abusers restrict or limit access to the economic resources of the home. Spotting financial or economic abuse may be another way to spot that there may also physical, emotional, sexual, or mental abuse occurring in the home as well.

If you are experiencing this type of abuse or you think you know someone who may be, you can speak to one of our advocates to find out more info: 1-800-440-4633.

*Read the full article at: https://www.thepennyhoarder.com/life/wellness/leaving-an-abusive-relationship/

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