Financial abuse takes many forms. It occurs in a wide range of situations. As family law solicitors we usually see it in the context of divorce and separation: one spouse has subjected the other to some kind of abuse, violating his or her rights to their financial affairs or assets – often over many years.

Under statute, financial abuse is recognised as a form of domestic abuse. The Domestic Abuse Act 2021 refers to ‘economic abuse’ – regarded as

“any behaviour that has a substantial adverse effect on an individual’s ability to acquire, use or maintain money or other property or effects an individual’s ability to obtain goods or services”

If you are the victim of financial abuse or have concerns during the divorce process about your spouse’s management of the family finances you should seek legal support to ensure that your current and future financial positions are fully protected.

Below we explore some of the signs that, in our experience can suggest that financial abuse of some kind is taking place, and we describe some of the ways we advise and support clients who may have been exposed to some form of financial abuse.

Signs Of Financial Abuse

Some red flags that might suggest there is financial abuse taking place include:

  • One spouse micromanaging and exerting strict control over family finances, demanding that the other account for all expenditure – however small – while at the same time not constraining his or her own expenditure and failing to explain what money has been spent on
  • Provision of an inadequate weekly spending budget requiring the financially weaker spouse to continually ask for further advances of money to meet day to day spending. This type of behaviour often appears designed to demonstrate financial dominance and control
  • Interference by one spouse in the other’s work, often with the intention of reducing the spouse’s employability and even endanger any current role he or she is employed in
  • Where one spouse prevents the other from gaining access to bank accounts, ensuring accounts are in the sole name of the financially abusing spouse
  • Limiting access to independent advice, including legal and financial advice by undermining the effectiveness of such guidance and belittling or ridiculing the weaker spouse’s desire to get outside advice
  • Forcing a spouse to open credit card accounts and running up debt in the financially weaker spouse’s name. This form of abuse is particularly insidious as it can often be difficult to demonstrate that the weaker spouse did not consent to opening the accounts
  • Where one spouse spends irresponsibly ahead of agreeing a financial settlement. This behaviour is often intended to instill panic over finances in the other spouse
  • Abusing the divorce process with unnecessary, unclear court applications and refusing to engage in constructive dialogue. By running up costs the hope is that the financially weaker spouse will accept an unfair financial settlement

Confronting Financial Abuse During Divorce and Separation

Over the years we have developed ways of supporting clients who find themselves subjected to financial abuse. Often we can anonymously describe cases we have dealt with in the past that are similar to the situation the client finds themselves in, showing how we were able to deal with the abuse. We often put clients in touch with relevant agencies and independent financial advisors we trust to provide basic financial education so that the client is better able to understand finances and how he or she may be being exploited. We work hard to provide a supportive environment for those subjected to financial abuse, ensuring that all members of the team are alert to the possibility of such abuse and are equipped with the training and tools to deal with it in a sensitive, practical way.

Comment

As we mentioned above it is often only against the backdrop of family breakdown that financial abuse comes to light. Specialist family solicitors are trained to identify signals that a client who is suffering from financial abuse might give, for example a lack of understanding or curiosity about his or her property or an apparent lack of knowledge of the family’s financial position generally. This will be revealed during the financial disclosure process when parties are required to complete the comprehensive financial disclosure form, Form E. In family mediation where spouses usually discuss finances jointly with the mediator financial abuse is often revealed when one spouse dominates discussions on finances or expresses stringent views on the other spouse’s spending or on how assets should be divided. In our experience a client who shows a real lack of confidence in relation to financial matters or who seeks to avoid going into any level of detail when discussing finances may well be exhibiting signs of underlying financial abuse.

Got a question? Ask us now…

Kindly complete the form below to send an enquiry. Your message will be sent to one of our solicitors. Discretion is guaranteed.

Your Information

  • Consider including information such as: the name of your spouse (if relevant), the country you live in, the background to your problem.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Over 2000 FREE
consultations and counting…

Our free consultation can help you more clearly understand the legal issues relating your case and what your options are to move forward.

Request your free consultation

Or send us an enquiry

Henry listened carefully to my circumstances, offered practical solutions, and explained the steps I need to take in a way that was easy to understand. His approach was genuinely helpful and empathetic, making a challenging time much easier to navigate.

Jul 2024   Tracy Henin

They were quick to respond and organise a consultation regarding my divorce proceedings. Henry was very knowledable and personable and the advice given really gave me the clarity I needed in an uncertain situation.

Jul 2024   Rebecca Lowe

My initial free consultation with Natasha Slabas was just over an hour and very informative. Natasha helped me understand the situation and the next steps involved. I would definitely proceed with Brookman Solicitors in the future if required. They were very quick to book the initial consultation and very professional.

Jul 2024   Rajan Marwaha

Had an initial free talk with them. I was impressed with their honesty and understanding of the situation.

Jun 2024   Dianne Wilkins

I had a 30-minute consultation with Samantha Jago where she clearly explained all my options and followed up with a detailed email of notes. I would highly recommend if you need help to clarify where you stand and getting options for how you move forward.

Jun 2024   Katherine Davey

I recently had a one hour pro bono consultation with Samantha Jago. I was really blown away by how much she was able to digest in such a short period of time and even more so by the report which I received shortly after.

Apr 2024   S DF

I had applied for a free consultation and I was contacted in a very short timeframe. Thank you so much for the insightful and thorough consultation, Kevin Danagher. You made me feel at ease and you provided clear expectations with the initial info I had provided... I have now a much better understanding on my query.

Feb 2024   Sonia Accardi

We had a very useful first consultation with Amber Matheson today. Amber took the time to understand our (somewhat complicated) set-up, and offered good, understandable advice on next steps. She followed up with a very thorough email clarifying what we had discussed. Highly recommended.

Feb 2024   Lucie

Lovely friendly experience. All questions were answered so that I understood completely.

Dec 2023   Ali Catlin

Very balanced, fair and pragmatic advice. Thoroughly recommend!!

Nov 2023   James Elliott

Henry graciously provided his time for a consultation. I found him to be highly knowledgeable, empathetic and he provided excellent advice which put my mind at ease. Would highly recommend Henry and his firm.

Oct 2023   Allan Ang

Henry Brookman went above and beyond during the free consultation, and even overran the allocated time. He provided invaluable professional advice in a courteous manner. I recommend his firm without reservation.

Sep 2023   Mario Ignatov

I only had my initial free review with Amelia yet I already feel much more strengthened in my legal and financial position. I am currently reflecting on the steps I want to take to negotiate my desired outcome of the financial settlement but, when I am ready to use the services of a lawyer, Amelia is definitely the top on my list.

Sep 2023   Nahid Toubia

I had a zoom consultation with Lauren Moir and she was incredible. Very patient, insightful and reassuring. She also advised me based on my previous conversations with another firm and also clarified various positions I am in. Highly recommend.

Aug 2023   Gary Hawes

I was very impressed with the friendly, helpful and professional service offered by Brookman Solicitors. The generous advice and knowledge offered during the initial free consultation has enabled us to have a much better understanding of our case and plan a way forward.

Jul 2023   Peter Jackson

Google Reviews
Ask A Question

Contact Us

If you have questions, contact us now, we can help you.

Enquire Now

Or call us on +44 (0)20 7430 8470