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Financial abuse is a hidden type of domestic violence

Some types of domestic violence leave clear signs. A co-worker comes to work with a black eye. You watch a neighbor yell at his or her spouse in public. A child grows moody and won't talk about his or her home life.

However, experts warn that some types of abuse, which technically may count as domestic violence, can be hidden. One of these is financial abuse.

Financial abuse occurs when one person controls another person's earning potential, access to money and other similar financial affairs. It can look very different from one case to the next. Below are a few examples:

-- You want to go back to school, finish your education and get a better job, but your spouse won't let you.

-- Your spouse never lets you withdraw money from the bank.

-- Your spouse will only get credit cards in his or her name and gives you no access to the family's money.

-- Your spouse makes all of the decisions about money, without consulting you.

-- Your spouse won't even let you buy necessary items, like food and clothing.

Though the word "spouse" is used above, it's important to remember that this can happen with couples who are dating, who aren't married or who are just living together. It's often done because the person with the financial power can then use it as a means to control the other person's actions and to keep him or her from leaving the relationship.

When you're facing any type of domestic violence, no matter how hidden it may be, you must know your rights and legal options to protect yourself.

Source: FindLaw, "Types of Domestic Violence," accessed July 12, 2017

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