Proving domestic violence is a difficult but necessary step in a divorce. Only through documenting a spouse’s abuse, whether mental, emotional, physical, or economic, can the victim obtain the personal validation and legal footing they require to proceed with their next stage of life. Talk to a divorce lawyer Boston today to learn more about economic abuse.
What is economic abuse?
Domestic abuse is addressed by the courts, legal professionals, and counseling programs during the divorce process. The emphasis, however, is on the emotional, mental, and physical abuse of spouses and kids.
Economic abuse is another efficient way for abusers to control their dependents, such as their spouses and children. An economic abuser controls a couple’s finances, leaving the victim partner completely reliant on the abuser for financial support.
Types of economic abuse
Economic exploitation can take various forms. Typical examples of economic abuse include:
- Limiting or depriving the victim’s ability to work.
- Putting the victim at-home partner on an allowance.
- Keeping the victim from having access to marital bank accounts.
- All credit cards are in the name of the abusive spouse.
- The abusive spouse earns more money and has separate bank and investment accounts.
- Taking away the victim’s ability to make financial decisions.
- The victim is openly accused of financial incapacity by the abusive spouse.
- The abusive spouse spends marital money on an affair, substance abuse, or gambling.
- The abusive spouse conceals and relocates assets.
- The abusive spouse withholds access to the victim’s independent assets and controls or wastes them as their own.
- The abusive spouse conceals the value of marital assets from the victim.
A financial abuser may also use deceptive methods such as rerouting mail and transferring assets to friends or family members at little or no expense.
How a divorce lawyer proves economic abuse in a divorce
Divorce attorneys use evidence collecting, forensic accounting, witness testimony, and other methods to prove economic abuse. Economic abuse documentation is demanded and subpoenaed for production under penalty of perjury. This could refer to, but is not limited to, the following:
- Financial applications and loan documents
- Transaction records
- Account statements and receipts
- Retirement account records
- Profit and loss statements
- Tax returns
- Life insurance policies
- Trust documents
- Car and property titles and deeds
- Brokerage account statements
Forensic accountants use the above information to locate hidden assets, track expenditure patterns and transactions, and give expert testimony about who controls a couple’s assets. A private investigator may be hired to track an abuser down to unknown banking locations or safe deposit boxes.