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Proving Financial Abuse in a Divorce

Posted On July 11, 2022 In Divorce

Proving domestic abuse is a daunting but defining element in a divorce. Only through establishing the abuse of a spouse, whether that abuse is physical, mental, emotional, or financial, can the victim gain the personal verification and legal footing they need to move forward with their next stage in life.

What is Financial Abuse?

The courts, legal professionals, and counseling services address domestic abuse during the divorce process. However, the emphasis is on the physical, mental, and emotional abuse of spouses and children.

Financial abuse is another effective method used by abusers to control their spouses and dependents. A financial abuser dominates all of a couple’s finances, leaving the victim spouse utterly dependent on the abuser for monetary support.

Types of Financial Abuse

Financial abuse takes many forms. Typical manifestations of financial abuse include:

  • Preventing the victim from accessing marital bank accounts;
  • Placing the victim at-home spouse on an allowance;
  • Discouraging or denying the victim an opportunity to work;
  • Denying the victim decision-making power about financial decisions;
  • The abusive spouse makes more money and maintains individual bank and investment accounts;
  • The abusive spouse holds all credit cards in their name;
  • The abusive spouse hides and moves assets;
  • The abusive spouse uses marital funds for an affair, substance abuse, or gambling addiction;
  • The abusive spouse openly accuses the victim of financial incompetence;
  • The abusive spouse keeps the victim in the dark about the value of marital assets; or
  • The abusive spouse denies the victim access to the victim’s separate assets and controls or squanders these assets as their own.

Additionally, a financial abuser may engage in dishonest practices like rerouting mail and transferring assets to their friends or family members at little or no cost.

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How a Divorce Attorney Proves Financial Abuse in a Divorce

Financial abuse is a behavior that divorce attorneys prove through evidence gathering, forensic accounting, witness testimony, and more.

Financial documentation of abuse is subpoenaed and requested for production under penalty of perjury. This may include, but is not limited to:

  • Account statements and receipts;
  • Transaction records;
  • Financial applications and loan documents;
  • Tax returns;
  • Profit and loss statements;
  • Retirement account records;
  • Car and property titles and deeds;
  • Trust documents;
  • Life insurance policies; and
  • Brokerage account statements.

Forensic accountants use the above information to find hidden assets, trace spending patterns and transactions, and provide expert testimony regarding controlling a couple’s assets. A private investigator may be employed to follow an abuser to unknown banking facilities or safe deposit boxes.

Eyewitness testimony and affidavits and copies of emails, texts, and correspondence that refer to a victim’s ability to manage funds or prove domination of money by the abuser will be included in an attorney’s evidence. A mental health expert may also be asked to explain the impact of financial abuse on a victim.

If the abuser operates a business, an attorney will examine the business to divert a couple’s assets and income.

Temporary Alimony During a Divorce

Proving financial abuse during a divorce takes time and resources. An experienced divorce attorney can seek temporary alimony and money to cover expenses while the divorce is pending. This money is to maintain the lower-earning spouse’s standard of living and is paid on a set schedule until the final divorce order.

Contact an Experienced Divorce and Family Law Attorney in Arizona

If you are experiencing any form of domestic abuse, including financial abuse, do not hesitate to contact an experienced divorce attorney in Arizona for help. No spouse should suffer any domestic abuse at the hands of their partner.

At Wilson-Goodman Law Group, PLLC, we work diligently to free victims of financial abuse from their situations. Get the practical legal advice you need to change your life by calling our Chandler family law attorneys today.