Ways to Spot Financial Abuse

When domestic abuse is brought up, most people immediately think of physical abuse. Bruises, scratches, and broken bones are easy to see and identify in person. Emotional abuse is also a common type of abuse. Abusers will expend a lot of energy to make their victims feel isolated or small. An often overlooked type of abuse is financial abuse. It is an unfortunate reality in domestic situations and the red flags should not be overlooked.

The most common trait of financial abuse and an easy way to spot it is when the abuser tracks every expenditure made by the victim. This is not the typical person who is cautious with money. Instead, this is a person who will demand accountability from the victim for every single reason and amount that money has been spent. If the victim is unable to provide an appropriate or adequate accounting for how or why the funds were spent, the victim may then be the recipient of physical or emotional abuse as a result.

Another common trait is complete control over finances. The end goal of a financial abuser is to make the victim financially cut off and isolated, and a simple way to accomplish this is to refuse the victim any independent access to funds. The abuser will typically refuse to put the victim’s name on any assets or accounts. This means that even if the victim has funds that he or she contributes to those accounts, he or she will not be able to directly access those accounts. The victim will be totally dependent on the abuser for any and all financial resources for any reason, ranging from basics like utilities all the way to luxuries like salon services.

Finally, control over career choices is a common manner of financial abuse. An abuser will often pressure the victim into making particular career choices that will mean that he or she has a much lower earning capacity than the abuser. In many cases this will even mean forcing the victim to give up any work at all. The end result is the victim has no way of bringing in his or her own resources and has no financial independence whatsoever.

in helping our clients with handling all manner of domestic abuse, including financial abuse. Contact us today at (732) 529-6937 for an appointment and we can talk about your situation.  You are not stuck in a bad marriage just because you don’t know about your finances! Please also check out our for other FAQs about divorce topics like this one.

About the Author


John Nachlinger is a co-founder and managing attorney of Netsquire, a family law firm focused on streamlining divorces through effective mediation, settlement drafting, and court filing assistance. As a New Jersey Supreme Court Certified Matrimonial Law Attorney and Qualified Mediator, John guides couples toward equitable agreements without the cost and stress of litigation.

Recognized as a New Jersey Super Lawyer for over a decade, John’s client-focused approach aims to foster understanding during challenging transitions. With a background spanning top law journals, judicial clerkships, and boutique family law firms, John now applies his analytical skills to create workable solutions for all parties. His mediation services reshape the divorce journey by prioritizing compassion and compromise.

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