Suing An Ex-Spouse For Economic Abuse


Domestic abuse is about control, and one way abusers exert control over their victims is by restricting access to money and credit. It's not unusual for domestic abuse survivors to leave their marriages with damaged credit and no financial resources, which makes it difficult for them to get employment and housing. If you weren't able to get an adequate divorce settlement, one thing that may help you obtain financial self-sufficiency is suing your ex-spouse for economic abuse. Here's what you need to know about this option.

What Constitutes Economic Abuse?

Economic abuse is broadly defined as anything one person does to restrict another person's access to economic resources, reducing the victim's ability to support him or herself independent of the abuser. In a domestic abuse situation, economic abuse may manifest itself as

  • Preventing the victim from obtaining employment, sabotaging efforts towards career advancement, or forcing the person to quit his or her job
  • Preventing the person from obtaining or completing education
  • Restricting access to bank accounts
  • Taking the victim's income and spending it without his or her consent
  • Using the victim's identity to obtain credit
  • Destroying the victim's credit through purposeful mismanagement of debt
  • Outright stealing resources (e.g. forcing the person to sign over property)

The abuser typically enforces these restrictions using a variety of controlling mechanisms including physical force, emotional manipulation, blackmail/extortion tactics, threats, restricting access to allies, and destroying property.

Litigating a Case

There isn't a tort law that specifically addresses economic abuse. Instead, you would need to use torts associated with specific damages and losses. For instance, if your ex-spouse stole your identity and damaged your credit by opening fraudulent accounts in your name, you could sue him or her for fraud.

Some examples of other torts that may apply include the following:

  • Loss of opportunity due to inability to obtain employment or advance at work
  • Loss of income if you were fired from or had to quit a job because of your ex
  • Theft if your spouse stole money and assets from you

You will have to provide the court with evidence of your spouse's wrongdoing and the impact of his or her actions. For example, you would have to furnish proof your spouse opened fraudulent accounts in your name and that you were turned down for employment or loans as a result of the damage to your credit. You may also have to provide evidence of the domestic abuse you suffered in the relationship, such as medical or police reports, to show the level of influence your ex-spouse had over you.

Recovering damaging for economic abuse can be challenging, but may be worth the effort to help you get back on your feet after leaving the abusive relationship. Contact an attorney like Keith A. Hopson for assistance with this type of case.


14 July 2016

Accident Victims Must Stick Together

When I was injured in a slip and fall accident a few years ago, my family and friends had a hard time relating to the things I was going through. While some people thought that my decision to file a lawsuit was frivolous, others were under the impression that I would walk away as a millionaire. Their lack of personal experience with this type of legal problem left me feeling alone during one of the most difficult times in my life. That is why I decided to start this blog so that accident victims from all over would have somewhere to come to get the information and support that they need. I truly hope that this page can be that place for you.