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Restricting access to money is financial abuse

A recent commenter for the column The Moneyist on the Marketwatch website signed off as "Sick & Tired." The man boasted that he would "never give [his] wife $1,200 to blow her stimulus check in the store, while [he's] struggling to make ends meet." He said that he would give her a couple hundred dollars of her own money to spend shopping and asked why he was wrong for doing so.

The columnist was quick to count the ways that the "Sick & Tired" husband was wrong. Some are noted below.

Your name is not on the check

Even if you are married, if the check was issued in your spouse's name, it must be endorsed by them.

Financial control can be a form of abuse

If someone is controlling your access to marital funds or, worse, to your own money, this is a type of domestic abuse. The spouse in control of the funds uses your dependence on them to meet your most basic needs. This both infantilizes and restricts the spouse who can't access the money.

Love should not be transactional

Marriage should be a willing partnership between two equal adults who each own their own power and have a share in the marital assets. When one spouse controls all resources or doles them out on a quid pro quo basis, it changes the balance of the relationship.

There is a lack of budgeting skills

You may argue that your wife is horrible with budgeting and burns through money. This could be the perfect time to learn the importance of budgeting and allocation of funds. After all, it's hard to be good juggling finances if you are never allowed access to money.

Divorces over money matters are common

Struggles over money remain one of the top causes of divorce today in the United States. Restricting access to a spouse's stimulus check money could be the financial straw that breaks the camel's back. Your marriage may not recover from this affront.

Denied access to marital and personal funds a red flag

Does your spouse control the marital purse strings, only doling money out as they see fit — or not at all? Financial abuse may be keeping you tethered to your spouse in a loveless, perhaps even dangerous, marriage. It might be time to do some soul-searching and determine whether filing for divorce might be in your best interests.

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