Like any form of domestic violence, financial abuse is all about control. Financial abusers rarely limit their controlling behaviour to money and in most cases other forms of abuse will be present in the relationship too.

So how do you know if you’re married to a financial abuser?

It might start with your spouse tightening the purse strings or asking a few too many questions about what you have been spending money on. If your partner is cross when you buy things or unreasonably restricts your access to money, these are clear signs that you are being financially abused. Here are some things to look out for:

Controlling access to money

Over time, your partner may restrict your access to the family finances, increasing your reliance on them and limiting your independence.  If your partner doesn’t let you have free access to your money, you should be concerned.

Monitoring your spending

You shouldn’t be expected to detail everything you have spent your money on. If your partner quizzes you on your spending habits, this is controlling behaviour and it’s not OK.

Arguing over money

Most couples will have disagreements and stresses over money at some time or another. A financial abuser will be continually angry about your spending, particularly money you have spent on yourself, such as a haircut or a new pair of shoes. In a healthy relationship your partner wouldn’t make you feel guilty for spending money on yourself.

Not letting you work

Some abusers actively discourage their victims from going to work and earning money for themselves. They see any kind of independent behaviour as a threat, however small.

What can you do if you’re being financially abused?

Financial abuse of any kind will leave you feeling trapped, controlled and undermined.  It can have a serious emotional impact on you and your children and can affect your quality of life. Unfortunately, as with most cases of domestic abuse, confrontation can make the situation worse and provoke renewed anger and even violence. That’s why it is so important to seek professional help and make a safety plan which will help you escape your situation.

Many people in abusive relationships worry about how they would manage financially if they separated from their abuser. Our family lawyers have particular experience in helping victims of domestic abuse get their fair share of the assets so they can afford their own housing and expenditure. We understand the sensitive approach needed, particularly when partners may be monitoring communications/the bank account. We also have an excellent network of specialists who are trained to support abuse victims.

To speak to one of our friendly solicitors for a free confidential chat give us a call today on: 01423 594680.

Laura Mounsey is a family lawyer with experience of working on cases involving properties, trusts, businesses and pensions.  Laura is a dedicated and talented lawyer who has been recognised with a “Safe Pair of Hands” Award.

Everyone’s circumstances are different and this article is provided by way of general information only and must not be relied upon.  If you require legal advice on a family law issue, please feel free to contact us by emailing