A controlling husband may hold sway over every aspect of your life, especially when it comes to the matter of money. If you are serious about leaving your abusive and controlling husband, here are 12 steps you can take to secure your finances as soon as possible:
- Choose a way to get your mail privately: You can either have your mail forwarded to someone you trust, which can be arranged online via the U.S. Postal Service, or you can visit your local San Francisco post office to get a post office box of your own.
- Get your own bank account: If you don’t already have an individual bank account of your own, open a bank account in your own name and start saving as much money as you can.
- Transfer your financial assets: Into your new, separate account, transfer your paychecks, flex deposits for childcare or medical care, and any automatic savings deposits.
- Acquire a prepaid debit card: Your own bank should be able to provide you with one, or you can buy a prepaid card from many local retailers, such as Target or Walmart. For a small fee, you can load and reload your prepaid debit card with as much money as you want.
- Remove your name from your husband’s credit cards and any joint debts: This will protect you from having to pay for anything he buys or racks up after you’ve left him.
- Remove your husband’s name from any lines of credit you control: You don’t want him to be able to use your credit, nor do you want him to have the chance to max out your credit!
- Change all your PIN codes: Be sure to use new codes that he can’t guess.
- Alert all your credit card companies of your situation: Send them copies of any court orders, since such extenuating circumstances may help you qualify for a new line of credit of your own, independent of your husband.
- Gather copies of all your important paperwork: This should include tax records, bank statements, account information for your household utilities, Social Security numbers, birth and marriage certificates, any loan documents from the last five years, and any documentation of jointly held assets. This step could be tricky—even dangerous with a controlling husband—but if you can do it safely, it’s important. Find a way to protect your documents, and keep them outside of your home. A bank safety deposit box would be a solid option if there’s no one you can entrust to keep your documents for you.
- Establish a new and secret email account: This new account will help you keep him out of your personal business, such as communicating with divorce professionals.
- Avoid using a shared computer: Your controlling husband may have installed spyware on any home computer or laptop in your home—even smart phones—so visit the public library or other public places for your Internet access.
- DO NOT SIGN any documents presented to you by your husband! You should never sign anything until it has been reviewed and approved by professional counsel. Doing so may restrict your rights and your options for the future.
What More Can You Do to Prepare for Your Divorce?
Once your controlling husband learns of your plans to leave him, things could quickly turn into an ugly fight. Knowing what more you could do to prepare and protect yourself could be important for your future. To secure your resources and your options, a legal professional could be invaluable, and there’s no need for you to go through all this alone. At the San Francisco family law firm of Paul H. Nathan, we’ll work to help you file and finalize your divorce. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.