Financial Abuse in Divorce: What You Need to Know
Financial Abuse and Why It’s Important if You’re Getting Divorced in New Jersey
Financial abuse in a relationship is a powerful form of manipulation. It can keep a spouse trapped in an imbalanced marriage. That’s because the person controlling the finances uses it to control the other spouse. The spouse who tends to know more about the finances will also use that as an advantage during the divorce process to prevent the other partner from getting what they deserve under New Jersey law.
In this article, you will learn about the primary identifiers of financial abuse situations, how this type of abuse may impact your divorce case, and how to proceed with a divorce under such circumstances. If you have a divorce case involving financial abuse in Woodland Park, Haledon, Clifton, Hackensack, Nutely, Elmwood Park, South Orange, and throughout Essex, Bergen, and Passaic County, our experienced family lawyers can help you assert your rights in the divorce process. We help clients handle the most challenging divorces, many of which involve domestic abuse, narcissistic spouses, child custody disputes, and attempts to hide assets in New Jersey. Call the Montanari Law Group at (973) 233-4396 to talk to a divorce lawyer at our office free. We are available and ready to assist you.
Financial Abuse as a Form of Domestic Violence in New Jersey
It is important to understand that financial abuse is a form of domestic abuse. Victims are entirely dependent on their spouses for economic survival. One partner controls the victim’s access to the family’s financial resources. The financially controlling partner may prevent the victim from getting a job or finding ways to earn money. This keeps the victim entirely dependent and unlikely to leave the relationship.
Financial abuse must be taken seriously. It happens slowly over time – not just during the divorce process. It is important to know the signs of financial abuse. Do you lack access to savings accounts, checking accounts, credit cards, or debit cards? Have you been discouraged from finding a job or forced to quit one? Has your partner forced you to sell assets against your will? Are you on a limited allowance? Has your partner taken all your money away from you without your permission or consent? Does your spouse or partner make all the financial decisions? Does your partner never discuss finances with you?
These indicators can help you determine whether you are a victim of financial abuse. However, it’s not all the ways financial abuse happens. Perhaps the most critical question is whether you feel helpless and controlled by your spouse.
From Marriage through Divorce in Financial Abuse Cases in NJ
Financial abuse can start during the marriage and continue in the divorce process. During the marriage, the controlling spouse can force you to sell property or assets you had before the marriage and keep the proceeds. They may open up credit cards in your name and rack up debt. This can ruin your credit and make getting another credit card or loan more challenging. They can even pressure you to sign legal documents, like a will or a Power of Attorney.
If financial abuse occurs during the marriage, it will likely spill over into divorce. As with most abuse, it is about control. A financially controlling spouse can lie to you about your rights. This affects the divorce case because you may unwillingly give up legal protections. The controlling spouse can pressure you into accepting the marital home if you agree to forgo alimony or child support, even if they know that a judge would award you much more than the house’s value.
The financially controlling spouse can also hide assets to prevent you from receiving your fair share. They may make you believe that the Court will not award you anything. Don’t take their word for it. Consult with an experienced attorney that can advise you of your legal rights. If financial or other types of abuse are present in your marriage, it may be time to get out. Abusers, including financial abusers, prey on victims that have difficulty setting clear boundaries.
Hiring an experienced divorce attorney can help. The more you know about what marital assets you have, the more equitable a decision can be made. And you won’t be at it alone. Our lawyers can guide you to ensure you have the necessary documentation, like bank account information, car titles, life insurance policies, and other crucial financial documents.
In every phase of your divorce case, we will provide support, including investigating and ensuring that all the financial information is disclosed and discovered so it can be used to your advantage. Sometimes, we recommend forensic accountants as well if there is more to find out in the investigation of your assets. No matter what, you get our full commitment from day one.
Preparing for Divorce from a Financially Abusive Spouse in New Jersey
New Jersey offers several available options to keep financial abuse victims from being further victimized during and after divorce. A seasoned divorce lawyer at Montanari Law Group can explain all your legal rights.
Spouses can seek alimony “pendente lite.” This emergency order is quickly given to financially help the victim offset living expenses. It is temporary and meant to protect the victim during the pendency of the actual divorce proceedings. A pendente lite ensures that the less financially stable spouse has funds for living expenses, mortgage, rent, and other bills. A New Jersey judge can require a spouse to make regular payments (weekly, biweekly, or monthly) during the divorce process.
In a divorce, marital assets and property are divided fairly. This isn’t just who financially contributed more. The Court considers work without pay, such as support provided to the career spouse, homemakers, and who raised the children. Alimony can be provided after a marriage as well. The amount depends on the length, a spouse’s ability to earn a living, and educational and job experience levels.
If minor children are concerned, then child support is also calculated and awarded. Usually, the higher-earning spouse must pay the other spouse for child support. Other factors are considered, such as if the child resides with one parent more of the time (the custodial parent), which can often occur when children are school-ages or when one parent lives further away.
Speak with a Passaic County Financial Abuse and Divorce Lawyer to Help Protect Your Rights
If you believe you may be the victim of financial abuse, it is crucial that you speak to someone who is knowledgeable about this area and can be objective in their assessment. When your spouse is economically manipulative, financially controlling, or on a rampage to hide valuable assets from you, the assistance of a family law attorney is critical. Your divorce requires the foresight of a family lawyer at The Montanari Law Group, who knows how to identify the warning signs of financial abuse or manipulation, uncover hidden assets, and ultimately recoup the funds you deserve. Our divorce attorneys have compassionately offered legal counsel and zealous representation to individuals seeking dissolution of a marriage or civil union in Caldwell, Verona, Fort Lee, Wyckoff, Montclair, Hawthorne, or other Passaic County and North New Jersey neighboring communities. To talk to one of our team members now, call (973) 233-4396. or complete the online form. The consultation is always free and completely confidential.