Is it considered spousal abuse for one spouse to deny access to funds to the other spouse?

UPDATED: Sep 12, 2011

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Is it considered spousal abuse for one spouse to deny access to funds to the other spouse?

If I need or want to use our debit card to purchase things such as gas, diapers, laundry detergent, trash bags, cleaning supplies, art supplies for the kids’s school projects, etc. My husband will refuse to allow me to use my debit card and tells me either we don’t need it, we don’t have the money, or he will pick it up on his way home from work. I have to ask for permission to use the debit card for any reason. Is this considered spousal abuse?

Asked on September 12, 2011 under Family Law, Tennessee


M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

Probably not in the legalsense of the word and what the intent of statutes and case law written on the issue.  But it is with out a doubt improper behaviour in a marriage and he can not stop you.  I need to ask: are you listed on the accounts?  I sincerely hope that you are because even if you are not working outside the home you are contributing to the marriage taking care of the kids, the house, etc.  And the rule is that money earned during a marriage is considered to be marital property.  What's his is yours and what's yours is his.  You need to set things  straight right away.  You need to make sure that all marital property - from bank accounts to real estate - is jointly held with rights of survivorship.  Get help.  Good luck.

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