Attorneys For Financial Abuse In Marriage

financial abuse in marriage

Financial abuse includes actions and behavior by one spouse to exert control and power over another in a marriage. It may include control of a spouse’s paycheck, threats about spending money or using credit cards, or limiting a spouse’s ability to have a job and work outside the house. One partner may take control of all of the credit cards and bank accounts to make the other partner more dependent. Financial abuse is a common component of marriages and intimate relationships that involve domestic violence and physical abuse. 

The Raleigh domestic violence attorneys of Charles R. Ullman & Associates help victims of financial abuse and other forms of domestic abuse take the steps necessary to get out of an abusive relationship and protect themselves. The most important consideration in an abusive situation is your safety and the safety of your children. Our compassionate family law attorneys can help you understand your legal rights in North Carolina if you are a victim of domestic abuse or domestic violence. Every marriage is different, and it’s important to speak with a knowledgeable divorce lawyer to address your specific questions and discuss what steps are available to you.

Our family law firm has assisted numerous Wake County residents who were in abusive marriages to make a fresh start and move forward with their lives. It is important to recognize the signs that a marriage may involve financial abuse.

What is Financial Abuse in Marriage?

While some spouses are physically abusive, others are manipulative and controlling of the other partner in an unhealthy way. Limiting a spouse’s access to money or bank accounts may be used to maintain control in a relationship or prevent a spouse from leaving a marriage. 

Many women who are victims of domestic violence are also victims of financial abuse, according to the National Network to End Domestic Violence. 

Married couples handle household finances in many ways, making it hard to state categorically that certain behaviors always represent financial abuse. Financial abuse takes many forms. Some common forms of financial abuse in a marriage include concealing financial information from a spouse, limiting access to financial accounts and assets, forcing a partner to quit working, requiring a partner’s permission to make financial decisions, being given a set allowance by your spouse without mutual agreement, and pressuring a partner to sign false credit or tax documents.

Financial abuse often becomes more controlling over time. Financial insecurity and fear are leading reasons that women stay in or return to abusive relationships.

Warning Signs of Financial Abuse

Financial abuse, also known as economic abuse, is one of the six categories of domestic abuse. Some of the common ways that financial abuse occurs include:

  • Controlling how all money is spent
  • Making a spouse ask for money
  • Giving a spouse a set allowance without the spouse’s consent
  • Forging a spouse’s name on financial documents
  • Selling property that was yours without your permission
  • Withholding money to punish the spouse
  • Constantly questioning a spouse’s purchases
  • Stalking or harassing you at work
  • Forbidding a spouse to work 
  • Denying the spouse access to money for basic necessities such as food or medicine
  • Filing false credit applications in your name
  • Forcing a victim to file false tax returns

Some partners may be reluctant to leave a marriage even if the relationship involves abusive behavior such as financial abuse, demeaning behavior, or physical violence. It is important to keep in mind that a loving marriage does not involve being abused physically, emotionally, or financially. 

Our compassionate attorneys can help you develop a plan to leave an abusive spouse. You will need to gather legal documents such as birth certificates and Social Security cards and get copies of bank statements and credit card information if possible. The top priority should be getting out of the abusive relationship as soon as possible. Once you are separated from the abusive spouse, you can take steps to repair your credit and gain financial independence.

How Do North Carolina Laws Protect Me from Financial Abuse?

North Carolina civil law defines domestic abuse as any instance in which an individual with whom you have had a personal relationship takes any of the following actions against you or a minor child:

  • Intentionally causes bodily injury
  • Attempts to cause harm
  • Puts you in fear of imminent injury
  • Harassment or stalking that causes significant emotional distress
  • Sexual violence

Financial abuse is often a part of domestic violence. If you are a victim of domestic violence, you have a right to take legal action to end the abuse.

How Can a Financial Abuse Lawyer Help Me?

Unfortunately, domestic abuse often becomes more pronounced over time. Knowing the legal steps you can take is critical to protect yourself from financial abuse and other forms of domestic abuse. A compassionate family law attorney at Charles R. Ullman & Associates can discuss your concerns and offer guidance.

Victims of domestic violence may seek a court order that offers protection from further abuse. If you have been a financially dependent spouse and do not have the financial resources to pay your monthly obligations, you may have a right to demand post-separation support from your spouse. Post-separation support is temporary assistance that is intended to provide help between separation and the determination of alimony.

Our attorneys at Charles Ullman & Associates can file a civil lawsuit on your behalf seeking financial support, and seeking a domestic violence protective order if needed. A domestic violence protective order is also known as a restraining order or a 50B order. 

The complaint filed on your behalf will list the harassment, threatened violence, or acts of domestic violence that you have experienced and when they occurred. You will appear before a family law judge or magistrate and describe what happened. Your abuser is not notified of the initial hearing. Our attorney can file the lawsuit requesting a protective order and accompany you to the hearing. 

We can inform the court that you do not have the resources to support yourself and you need financial assistance to meet your monthly expenses during the separation. If your spouse has the financial means to pay support, the court may order your spouse to provide post-separation support while other issues are resolved. 

If the judge decides that an emergency protective order is appropriate, that order will be issued immediately. The emergency restraining order is valid until there is a full hearing, which will be held within 10 days. At the full hearing, the judge may enter a domestic violence protective order that remains in place for one year. Our attorneys can file a motion to have the protective order extended for an additional two years.

If your abusive spouse is withholding financial support, a divorce attorney at Charles Ullman & Associates can file a complaint asking the court to order child support and temporary possession of your home and vehicles. The judge may deal with financial issues on a limited basis in the protective order and deal with them more fully as part of the divorce proceedings.

We can seek alimony for you as part of the final divorce agreement.

Contact Our Raleigh Financial Abuse Divorce Attorney Today

If you are a victim of domestic abuse or violence – or you know someone suffering or at risk of domestic abuse – it is important for you to know that North Carolina law is on your side and help is available from an understanding and experienced Raleigh family law attorney. 

Regardless of the circumstances, you do not have to endure the situation if you are being abused physically, emotionally, or financially. The compassionate attorneys at Charles R. Ullman & Associates are here to assist you. From our offices in Raleigh, we stand up for domestic violence victims throughout Wake County and help our clients move toward a brighter, more secure future by providing legal services and putting our clients in touch with other caring professionals. 

Contact an experienced domestic violence lawyer at Charles R. Ullman & Associates for a confidential consultation today. Please contact us online or call us toll-free for a prompt response.


Charles Ullman & Associates provides you respected, experienced and knowledgeable divorce and family law attorneys. You can trust us to help you through the legal process efficiently and effectively so you can transition to the next phase of your life. Our community involvement reaches beyond charitable support of important causes. We launched our own movement in Fraternities4Family and provide scholarships to able students in need.