Can I legally prevent my spouse from giving money to the Mormon church?

My children and I left the Mormon church after an in-depth study proved it to be fraudulent. Spouse gives several hundred dollars a month to the church while our children literally go without many basic needs. Can I prevent him from doing this? Yes, I am traveling a path to divorce. Spouse has complete control of finances. He hides tax forms and threatens me if I don’t sign. Until I can become financially independent, I am stuck. Can you help?

Asked on November 3, 2011 under Family Law, Oregon


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Unfortunately, while you are married, there is no way to stop a  spouse from sending money to a religion (and note that regardless of your beliefs or the study you reference, the Church of Latter Day Saints is recognized as a legimitate religion in this country) or to force more to be spent on children. To have some control over your finances and an ability to mandate some minimum spending on your children, you are going to need to divorce your spouse, get custody of your children, and get both spousal and child support.

In the meantime, do not sign any potentially fraudulent tax could be setting yourself up for liability. (The government is not  likely to cut you slack because your spouse was coercing you; you are responsible for what you sign in regards to taxes.)

From what you write, you should speak with a family or divorce law attorney IMMEDIATELY. Good luck.

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