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Wisconsin Family Law Articles

Divorce when one partner is financially controlling

In some marriages, it works better when one partner handles paying bills and keeping up with household finances. While this may be a product of delegating money-related matters to the person who prefers to be responsible for them, it could also be that one partner is financially controlling. When you decide to divorce from a financially-controlling partner, there can be complications. Property division can be extra difficult, and divorce for business owners can mean additonal complexity.

Assess the Situation

There is a difference between believing your spouse is critical about how you spend money versus their keeping you in the dark when it comes to your marital finances.  You need to figure out how much you know about your finances and where you are missing information.  For example, are you a joint account holder on your savings and checking accounts?  If not, do you have access to the account statements?  Are you aware of the status of your partner’s retirement and investment funds?  Gather the information you have and determine if there are other pieces of data you require to get the full picture of your finances.

Credit and Accounts

When a partner is financially controlling, they may also keep the other person from holding accounts or building their own credit. It will be important to have the ability to use your personal credit after you are no longer married. If you do not have a credit card or banking account consider opening both to start creating your own credit profile. By getting started now, you can increase the likelihood that you can have the credit and funds you need to start over after the divorce.

Take an In-Depth Look

If you are in a relationship in which your partner has all of the financial power, consider why.  It may be that you married young and fell into the same patterns that your parents modeled. However, the fact that you are in this dynamic may be indicative of a deeper problem with your self-esteem or relationship patterns. By taking time to consider the reasons why you may have ended up in this situation, you can help avoid replicating similar dysfunction in other areas of your life in the future.

Seek Help

If you feel you are at a disadvantage when it comes to knowing about your finances, it would be best if you met with an experienced family law attorney who can help you look at your situation and determine what you need to do next. Attorney Karyn Youso has extensive experience assisting clients during divorce and can help you take a “first look” at your case understand your options. Please contact us to schedule a consultation.

Contact our family law office to learn more about Wisconsin divorce law. Get legal advice from Karyn Youso, the family law attorney and mediator with over 27 years of experience.