When you hear the words “domestic abuse,” you probably envision someone physically, verbally or sexually assaulting someone he or she is supposed to care for and love. You are right in thinking that those are forms of domestic abuse, but other behaviors could fall under that definition as well.
Did you know that you could face false accusations of domestic abuse because you handle the family finances? What may have worked for you as a couple during your marriage could now end up used against you in a divorce.
What constitutes financial abuse?
Not everyone is good with money. Perhaps you and your spouse realized that he or she falls into this category. When you got married, you agreed that you would handle all of the finances. Perhaps you even give your spouse an allowance in order to restrict spending that could get out of control. This probably worked well for some time during the marriage, but now that the relationship is ending, your spouse may claim financial abuse by accusing you of the following:
- You kept money from your spouse.
- You stole money from your spouse.
- You didn’t allow your spouse to work.
- You made your spouse account for every dollar spent.
- You took your spouse’s credit cards away.
The assumption is that, by controlling all of the money, an abuser can control his or her spouse. The victim feels trapped, unworthy and unable to leave. Financial abuse is often a symptom of larger domestic abuse issues within a relationship. Your spouse may have only intended to sway the opinion of a Florida divorce court, but he or she could end up making you the target of a criminal investigation.
Don’t make the mistake of dismissing your soon-to-be former spouse’s accusations. If you do, the situation could quickly degrade into criminal charges. After all, your spouse levied false accusations against you and now may attempt to keep up the story once police are involved. It becomes a case of “he said-she said,” and the law tends to lean more toward the victim.
You could face an uphill battle
You could end up fighting this battle on two fronts — in a divorce court or in a criminal court. It would be to your benefit to make sure that you have experienced advice and assistance on both fronts. You don’t want to risk your freedom by not having the right legal advocate on your side.