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Some observations on financial abuse in a relationship

We noted the egalitarian nature of domestic violence in our immediately preceding blog post, noting in our May 12 entry that domestic abuse "doesn't discriminate and affects people from all demographics and income brackets."

What that equates to in Massachusetts and nationally is a particularly slippery and egregious evil, given that the face of violence is often well masked and not easily susceptible of a cure.

Moreover, domestic violence cannot be fully understood or addressed if considered only in the context of physical abuse, although that is, of course, a core component in many instances.

A recent media article notes one sometimes overlooked aspect of maltreatment that plays out in family homes, namely, the financially abusive tactics of one spouse or partner that are purposefully engaged in to control and emasculate the other.

And that, evidence indicates, does not play out in such an egalitarian fashion.

"Women are more likely to be victims [of family abuse] than men," states the above-cited media piece. And in "the vast majority" of domestic violence cases, notes a commentator from the advocacy group Allstate Foundation, financial abuse also features.

That can mean the stealing of marital assets in one case. Alternatively, it can be predominantly marked by the refusal to provide a partner with money to spend on essential needs. Some spouses and significant others refuse to let their partners work or even see financial documents.

Those realities in a relationship can obviously loom large later in instances where money matters are under a spotlight in a divorce proceeding. Where financial abuse has centrally marked a relationship, issues during divorce are often focused necessarily on comprehensively locating and valuating assets that have been shielded from a party who has a legal right to share in their equitable distribution.

Questions or concerns regarding financial abuse and its implications for asset and property division can be directed to a proven divorce attorney who routinely represents clients in such matters.

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