Aside from personal safety, money is often one of the biggest concerns women have prior to leaving a violent relationship.
The question I always hear in my counselling practice is, "How am I going to survive financially?"
If you are considering leaving a violent, abusive or controlling relationship, there are some simple but helpful financial moves you may want to make (or at least give some thought to) prior to leaving.
These ideas are intended to provide a sense of empowerment and obviously do not fully account for all the financial preparation you will need to do. So take what helps and leave the rest!
- If possible, put some money aside each week (or as you can). Make sure the money is left in a safe place or with a trusted person.
- Start saving all your coins (every little bit adds up!).
- If your level of income will drop after leaving the relationship it may be worth applying for any loans/credit cards you may need to survive before you leave (practice responsible borrowing of course).
- Review and minimise any financial commitments you will be responsible for going forward (such as phone bills and other expenses), at least until you are back on your feet.
- Find out what support payments you may be eligible for after leaving (particularly relevant for sole parents).
- Open a new bank account in your name only.
- Sell your unwanted goods online to make some extra cash.
- Tidy up your finances including closing bank accounts you don't need.
- And most importantly, before leaving, try to obtain copies of all key financial documents including rental agreements, mortgage documents, share portfolios and business ownership papers.
These ideas are generic in nature and you should consider your own individual circumstances, and the advice of your legal team, above all else.
- Erica is a Women's Health Counsellor in private practice in the Southern Highlands. You can read more about her work at www.shecounselling.com.au. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org, on 0412 707 242 or via socials @shecounselling.