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Barbara L. Jouette, Attorney, P.C.
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Domestic abusers can control victims through finances, part 2

In our last post on this blog, we discussed the ways in which an abusive spouse could control you through financial sabotage. But that post only told half the story. The other half of the story is how you can thwart these efforts and once again become a free individual. But if you have already been financially compromised, you may have to take some preparatory steps before you make your break.

The following are things you can do in anticipation of leaving your abusive partner:

Put aside some extra money, so when you are ready, you can make your escape. To do this, you may want to open your own bank account or have a trusted friend or family member hold on to the funds.

Obtain a credit report prior to leaving and report any disputed or fraudulent charges. Experian, Equifax, and other such places offer access to credit reports free of charge.

Secure your personal and financial documents and store them someplace for safe keeping. This could be at a secret location or with a friend or your family.

Guard your identity by changing your PINs and passwords on your various accounts. Of special concern are bank and email accounts. You may even want to freeze or cancel some of these accounts. Doing this ensures that your abuser cannot request a password change or monitor your account activities.

Also, before you leave, you should carefully go over your budget to determine your expenses for bills, housing, and food. This will help you prepare for living on your own.

The maneuvers you need to make to get out of your abusive situation will be dictated by your specific circumstances. Hopefully, you will be able to make a clean getaway, and your ex will simply accept your decision. Unfortunately, abusers are often persistent and refuse to relinquish control without a fight.

Therefore, you should also prepare to take legal action if necessary. An experienced family law attorney can be your guide and advisor during this turbulent time. The attorney could also help you file a restraining order if you have reason to fear that your ex poses a personal threat. While such steps may seem drastic, they could help protect you as you move on to a new and better phase of your life.

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