How Do I Get Access to Money If My Spouse Cut Off Funds Already?

How Do I Get Access to Money If My Spouse Cut Off Funds Already?

Income inequality exists in marriages throughout the United States. The financial imbalance can occur when one spouse works and the other contributes to the household in nonmonetary ways. Even when both spouses work, one may earn a significantly higher wage than the other.

During the marriage, the household income is available for each spouse to use as needed to pay for recurring bills and other debts, as well as food, clothing, and recreation. Although in some marital relationships, financial abuse may occur.

Financial abuse happens when a person controls another’s ability to use, obtain or keep monetary resources. The individual with fiscal power may do the following:

  • Withhold money from the victim
  • Prevent the victim from having a job
  • Give the victim a limited amount of money to spend
  • Make the victim quit or lose their employment

The control can start or continue when one or both spouses decide to end the marriage. It also may occur after the moment of the divorce filing and throughout the marital dissolution process. One spouse may continue or start exerting power by interfering and cutting off funds to the other spouse. As a result, the victim of economic hardship can find it challenging to secure separate housing, take care of their children or pay for necessities.

The court can award spousal support to provide financial help to a spouse. Spousal support is money one spouse pays the other for reentrance into the job market and compensation for marital contributions that helped the other spouse maintain an accustomed lifestyle.

After a spouse files the petition to dissolve the marriage and gives proper legal notice to the other spouse of the divorce filing, either party can request temporary spousal support. The spouse requesting the temporary order for spousal support may need to file a Uniform Support Declaration if the spouses disagree on the amount of the support. The Declaration outlines the requesting spouse's information, such as expenses, financial resources and economic benefits received.

For the spouse without access to marital funds, the temporary order of support can provide the spouse with money while the divorce case is ongoing. The temporary order remains effective until the court makes a new order, or the judge signs the final judgment of the dissolution of the marriage.

Oregon law has three types of spousal support – transitional, compensatory and spousal maintenance. Transitional support helps the dependent spouse reenter or advance in the job market. A court can order compensatory support to the spouse who made significant contributions during the marriage to aid in the education, training or earning capacity of the other spouse. Spousal maintenance is payment to a dependent spouse as general financial support.

Spousal maintenance is an appropriate temporary support when a spouse restricts the other spouse's access to marital funds. A judge may also award spousal maintenance in the final divorce judgment. The court considers factors such as the duration of the marriage, the spouses’ ages, the standard of living established during the marriage and the requesting spouse’s work experience.

Other Spousal Support Frequently Asked Questions