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Protecting Yourself Financially When Divorcing an Abuser

 Posted on May 13, 2024 in Domestic Abuse

IL divorce lawyerPeople who abuse their spouses physically or emotionally are very likely to financially abuse their spouses during the divorce process as well. Many survivors of domestic violence or narcissistic abuse finally build up the courage to file for divorce only to find that their bank accounts have been drained by the abuser, who is now fighting hard to keep every possible marital asset. Abusers may lie, dissipate assets, or hide marital property for the sole purpose of hurting their escaping spouses. If you are divorcing an abusive spouse, you need to speak to an experienced Arlington Heights, IL complex divorce attorney about how to protect yourself financially.

Tips for Protecting Your Property Rights While Divorcing an Abusive Spouse

Do not count on your spouse to be truthful about who acquired which asset or when or to voluntarily leave you access to the marital finances once he finds out you have filed for divorce. Some steps your attorney might recommend taking include:

  • Financial restraining orders - Financial restraining orders can prevent your spouse from accessing, concealing, or disposing of certain funds, such as your retirement accounts or savings accounts. This may be necessary because abusers have been known to drain these accounts and spend or hide the money, leaving their spouses with nothing. 
  • Gather proof of separate assets - You will likely need to prove that your separate assets are yours alone because your spouse may lie. Do you have neighbors who can testify that the above-ground pool your children like to play in was in your backyard long before you got married in case your spouse claims it was an improvement he contributed to? Will your mother write an affidavit stating that the check she sent you for your birthday was a gift for you and you alone? 
  • Look for hidden assets - Your spouse may already be hiding assets. Your attorney can help you search for assets you do not know about but have a claim to. 
  • Prepare for a dissipation claim - Many abusers control their spouses financially and may have taken control of marital assets you should have had access to. There is a significant overlap between abusive spouses and spouses who dissipate marital funds by spending them on drugs, affairs, prostitutes, gambling, or individual entertainment. 

Contact a Cook County, IL Complex Divorce Lawyer 

Law Offices of Donald J. Cosley is committed to helping people leave abusive marriages. Experienced Arlington Heights, IL domestic violence and divorce attorney Don Cosley is skilled in dealing with complex divorce issues and can take measures to protect your financial interests. Contact us at 847-253-3100 for a complimentary consultation.  

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