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Abuse victims find physical, financial security in divorce

In Alabama and around the nation, victims and advocates alike are raising awareness of domestic violence during October, which is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Many may be unaware that a staggering one in four women has experienced domestic violence in their lifetime, including many at the hands of their husbands.

Yet, it can be very difficult for victims of domestic abuse to gain control and set themselves free from the relationship. Often, victims feel powerless and live in fear of their abuser. The situation is not made easier when victims are not in financial control, as they may know little about the family finances or how to live on their own. Along with appropriate counseling and assistance for domestic violence, victims need to be aware of how to protect their assets and obtain a fair property division in order to break free of an abusive relationship.

To begin, in addition to being physically abusive, spouses may be hiding assets or not disclosing true amounts contained in the family’s bank accounts. Fortunately for victims who obtain a divorce, they may be able to take their abuser back to court to settle the hidden assets.

What’s more, during the discovery process of a divorce, spouses can learn of the financial information and assets held by the other party. Spouses have a right to see documents relating to the divorce, which touches on issues of property division, child custody, child support and alimony. Typically, anything and everything will come out during discovery.

Once a spouse is physically secure and knowledgeable of the whole financial picture, the divorce process allows for fair property division. While difficult, the divorce can help put victims of domestic violence back on their feet, both physically and financially, and bring them closer a more secure future.

Source: Forbes, “Divorcing Women, Especially Those in Abusive Relationships, Benefit From Learning How to Secure Their Financial Futures,” Jeff Landers, Oct. 4, 2012