WomensLaw is not just for women. We serve and support all survivors, no matter their sex or gender.

Important: Some courts are hearing cases virtually due to COVID. See our FAQ on Courts and COVID-19.

About Abuse

Financial Abuse

Updated: 
February 24, 2021

What is financial abuse? What are the signs to look out for?

Financial abuse is one form of domestic abuse. Withholding money, stealing money, and restricting the use of finances are some examples of financial abuse. To figure out if your partner is financially abusing you, think about how you are being treated by answering the following questions.

Does your partner:

  • Steal money from you or your family?
  • Force you to give him/her access to your bank accounts to make transactions without your input?
  • Make you feel as though you don’t have a right to know any details about money or household resources?
  • Put you on an “allowance” even if you object to this?
  • Force to you to account for all money you spend by, for example, asking for receipts?
  • Overuse your credit cards or refuse to pay the bills (thus ruining your credit)?
  • Prevent you from working or attending school or skill-training sessions?
  • Withhold physical resources from you including food, clothes, necessary medications, or shelter?
  • Force you to turn over your paychecks or public benefit payments?
  • Force you to cash in, sell or sign over any financial assets you own (e.g., bonds, stock or property)?
  • Force you to agree to power-of-attorney so s/he can sign legal documents?
  • Force you to work in a family business for little or no pay?
  • Prevent you from obtaining or using credit cards or bankcards?
  • Refuse to work to help support the family?
  • Interfere with your performance at work, by calling you non-stop, visiting your workplace unannounced, etc.?
  • Threaten to falsely report you for “cheating” on your public benefits so they will be cut off?
  • Force you to cash in, sell or sign over any financial assets or inheritance you own?
  • Force you to agree to a power of attorney that would enable your partner to legally sign documents without your knowledge or consent?1

If you have answered “yes” to more than one of these questions, your partner may be financially abusing you. Where there is financial abuse, there may also likely be other forms of abuse in your relationship. To see if you are being emotionally, physically, or sexually abused, you can go to the following pages on our website: Signs of Abuse and Forms of Abuse.

1 Information adapted from The Allstate Foundation’s & NNEDV’s “Moving Ahead Through Financial Empowerment Curriculum”