Learn about what you can ask for if there was financial abuse

How does an abusive relationship affect my family law issues?
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Learn about what you can ask for if there was financial abuse

All partners who separate can ask for things like monthly child support, special or extraordinary expenses, and spousal support.

If your partner controlled the family finances or refused to share money with you, they might continue this kind of financial abuse after the relationship is over.

For example, they may refuse to pay support, take all the money out of joint accounts, or refuse to tell you where they have put the money. If your partner does things like this, you may need to go to court to get a court order to help protect your right to property and support. The court can order that your partner share money with you and tell you about all of their property.

Another type of order that a court can make is a "non-depletion order" that limits how your partner's can deal with their property. For example, it can say that your partner is not allowed to sell, gift, or otherwise deal with certain property. You can ask for a non-depletion order if you think that your partner may get rid of their property so that they don't have to share it with you.

Expenses related to your case

You may also ask the court to order your partner to pay your costs to resolve your issues. This can be an important order in cases of financial abuse.

Normally, each person has to pay for their own lawyer and any court or arbitration costs. The court or arbitrator can later decide about cost consequences and make an order about who has to pay for costs.

But, in certain cases, the court or arbitrator can order your partner to pay you money while you are still trying to resolve your issues. This money is used to cover some or all of the future expenses of your court case, including your lawyer’s fees.

This type of court order or family arbitration award is sometimes called "interim disbursements" or "interim costs".

Interim costs can be important if your partner controls all or most of the family money.

To ask the court or arbitrator for this, you usually have to show:

  • that your expense is reasonable, and
  • that you need the money so that you can present your case fairly

The court or arbitrator may look at other things when deciding whether to give you interim costs. For example, they may look at whether you can pay the money back if they later decide that you should be responsible for these costs.

If you and your partner are not going to court or arbitration, you can also make an agreement about who pays for certain expenses while you are still trying to resolve your issues. This agreement can include who pays for an out of court family law professional, such as a mediator.

Reviewed: March 1, 2021

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