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Won't let me see bank statements, as they're 'his'...

(27 Posts)
Takebackcontrol Sat 10-May-14 15:23:56

Hello all, very first post and so exasperated with my whole life that I can barely be arsed to type this. It's on the recommendation of a friend that I use this lifeline. I began to type last night and it quickly turned into a life story that made me angry to read and figured who could be bothered to read all of it.

Basically, it has become apparent (thought I was an intelligent woman and it appears I'm not) that I am what you might call 'financially abused'. My money is the housekeeping which I am given monthly by my (refuse to say DH - can I just use H?). Quickly reduced over the last few years from £300 per month, to £200 and now it's £150 - this to feed a family of 4 (2 DC's under 6), mobile phone, petrol, school trips, lunches, clothes etc plus the child benefit weekly of £34.

It's been like this for the entirety of our our relationship and when I'd had enough of the bullshit I left in the new year for a week but came back on the promise things would change.

Have left it too long really but finally got around to initiating these 'changes' a few days ago - I wanted to see all bank statements and work out a budget/plan for the future etc and this has been flatly refused. He'll happily start a joint account now 'but I've got to be honest too' (!) but under no circumstances am I seeing 'his' account. He effectively said that I can leave before he'll show me his personal information. He said he'll tell me anything I need to know and has shown me his payslips.

More worrying that he always has the best - I get a big ticket item for a birthday when everyone clubs in/he just buys himself the same, I get charity clothes/he buys designer, I keep coupons for food/he buys leather wipes for his car upholstery, I take pride in grabbing a bargain/he buys a car and doesn't even discuss it.

He is seriously in debt; which in theory means I am too, though my name is on nothing (not the house, utilities, credit cards, cars etc) and yet he still spends. This is only found out through my thorough investigation - I could start P.I. company for wives I've become so wiley. A friend let slip this week that she saw a statement when she was house sitting last year with a gambling payment of over £100 and I shudder to think what else might be on there. He really didn't want me to leave him in the New Year so what the hell could be so bad that he'd rather risk us leaving than show me? Definitely don't suspect an affair - his hours/minutes etc are pretty much completely accounted for at work and he never goes out. The worst part is I've only asked to see from January onwards.

I don't think I'll ever get to see them and want to leave but suppose I'm kind of stuck. No relatives nearby (or even in this country for that matter), no savings (bank balance is often a fiver or less), no job (have my own business but not enough to pay myself), no prospects.

We're only 'happy' if I don't complain and smile and cook dinner etc - basically be a 50's housewife. I look in the mirror and I'm often surprised that I don't see who I thought I was anymore - an independent, sexy, clubbing, dancing, funny bitch. Instead I sigh and see an annoying face who shakes her head and looks back at me with an expression that says 'I'll deal with it later'.

mousmous Sat 10-May-14 15:27:24

can you speak to a solicitor on monday to see if/how you can disassiciate from his debts?
can you apply for work?
where does the cb go to?

whishing you all the best.

QuintessentiallyQS Sat 10-May-14 15:29:24

You need to see a solicitor. Most offer 30 minutes free, so use it wisely on finding out how you can get financial disclosure when filing for divorce. You may also be able to get some help from CAB, or Womans Aid.

MadameJosephine Sat 10-May-14 15:31:25

Im sorry but I think you are right, you are being financially abused and if he says he would rather you left than show you then hes left you with no alternative really has he?
Im sure somebody more knowledgeable will be along to give you better advice but Why dont you start by getting some advice from womens aid?

TheWickerWoman Sat 10-May-14 16:00:25

If your friend got to see a statement while you were away, couldn't you somehow sneak a look?

BitterAndOnlySlightlyTwisted Sat 10-May-14 16:01:17

A hundred and fifty quid a month for housekeeping? For fuck's sake!

DO NOT under any circumstances open a joint bank account with him. At the moment the account is in his sole name, so any overdraft or debts he has are nothing to do with you and cannot be collected from you if he defaults. That will not be the case if you have a joint account

There are a number of reasons why a man would not allow his wife to look at bank statements and the most common are expenditure on things nothing to do with the family (hotels and silk dressing-gowns in my father's case), gambling or debts. None of which bode well for your future financial security or that of your children.

He's an arsehole bully and controller! Being away from him and dependent on benefits would leave you with more than �150 a month for housekeeping. I'd be having a serious think about contacting your local authority and declaring yourself homeless due to his financial abuse. The second thing I'd be thinking about is selling his expensive shit on ebay to get your hands on some fleeing-cash to leave with.

guineapig1 Sat 10-May-14 16:06:48

Please see a Solicitor, this is financial abuse and is an absolute deal breaker.

As an aside, you say he'd rather separate than disclose his bank statements. Presumably he doesn't realise that if you were to divorce and a Court was asked to intervene in relation to finances ( quite likely if no agreement particularly as you've said the house is in his sole name) they would expect full disclosure of finances as a starting point and any refusal by him would be viewed in a very dim light.

TheCatThatSmiled Sat 10-May-14 16:07:17

Oh, also you need to do something to protect your share of the house, he may have remortgaged it, or intends to. Which is may be why he won't share any financial information now. A joint ac is worth sweet FA if he's still only putting £150 in a month.

Get thee to a lawyer. Don't tell him.

CogitoErgoSometimes Sat 10-May-14 16:16:07

If you're in the UK OP then you should probably contact Womens Aid 0808 2000 247. Not necessarily because I think you are in danger and need refuge but I think you need to be pointed in the direction of a very good solicitor who has some experience with abusive relationships and that you also need advice on other practical matters e.g housing, benefits, shared parenting. I don't think you're ever going to get the full story out of this man as he appears to be an accomplished liar. Neither do I think you're going to get a properly fair share of the family assets for the same reason. But I think you will be surprised at what you are entitled to and, with a little help, you could make a much better future solo.

Good luck

Optimist1 Sat 10-May-14 16:21:47

Your experience is very similar to the DD of a friend of mine (but I can tell from your details that you're not her!). Designer clothes, fast cars, prestige golf club memberships for him and charity shop clothes, scrimping and saving to make the housekeeping money stretch for her. My friend has given her DD £thousands over the past few years just so that she can get food on the table and pay for school trips. It must be a miserable existence, and I shudder to think what the reality of living this way must be.

The good news is that you've come to recognise that the situation is unreasonable and can't continue (which my friend's DD has yet to do). You need to start planning your escape, as PPs have said. Would you have more support from friends in this country or your family overseas? I would plan to make my exit to wherever there was likely to be more support. Not necessarily forever, but at least for the short term.

Bitter makes a very good point about not pushing for joint account, etc. now - at least as things stand you have no responsibility for his debts.

Sorry, I have no more to add except stay strong, think of your children and keep in mind a future as able, happy, fun you. There will be much better times ahead once you've left that bastard.

BitterAndOnlySlightlyTwisted Sat 10-May-14 16:21:57

Womens Aid. Womens Aid. Womans Aid.

0808 2000 247

You are being financially abused and in the most cruel way imaginable. Even if the house is in his sole name as his wife you are entitled to 50% of the equity as an absolute minimum. Unless he's remortgaged it up to the hilt and there's no equity left. If he's a gambler, as is suggested, then this is a distinct possibility.

Honestly, you'd be better off in a homeless hostel with your kids. At least then you'd have 100% control of your money even if it's purely benefits. Lone parents with children often don't do too badly on benefits while the children are under school-age

Womens Aid. Womens Aid. Womans Aid.

0808 2000 247

teaandthorazine Sat 10-May-14 16:25:34

Agree with bitter - do not get a joint account with this man. Your saving grace at the moment is that your name is on nothing, believe it or not. You are not responsible for debts that don't have your name on them, whether you're married or not.

Got to a solicitor, CAB and women's aid. And start planning to leave this horrible man.

AttilaTheMeerkat Sat 10-May-14 16:26:16

This is one of the worst cases of financial abuse I have read of on this site.

Such men, as you have now fully learnt, do not fundamentally change (it is likely that either one or both his parents are as controlling as he is).

Enlist the help of Womens Aid to get yourself and your children away from his financial abuse of yourselves. He cares not a jot for any of you.

ThePriory Sat 10-May-14 17:29:30

150 quid a month is horrific.
You are absolutely being financially abused and taken for a massive ride.
Get away

43percentburnt Sat 10-May-14 17:36:25

Hi I work in finance, do not open any joint accounts with him. He may have adverse credit, if so a joint account will link you financially. This will stop you obtaining credit. I suggest you obtain all three credit files for yourself, noddle, credit expert and Equifax. Ensure he hasn't taken credit in your name, this I am seeing far too much of at present.

You are being financially abused. Contact womans aid. Take a free 30 min solicitor appointment. Take photocopies of documents laying about the house, pension, payslip, p60,contracts, mortgage statement, etc and store safely with a friend.

Good luck op, 150 a month is awful. How are you managing?

43percentburnt Sat 10-May-14 17:36:28

Hi I work in finance, do not open any joint accounts with him. He may have adverse credit, if so a joint account will link you financially. This will stop you obtaining credit. I suggest you obtain all three credit files for yourself, noddle, credit expert and Equifax. Ensure he hasn't taken credit in your name, this I am seeing far too much of at present.

You are being financially abused. Contact womans aid. Take a free 30 min solicitor appointment. Take photocopies of documents laying about the house, pension, payslip, p60,contracts, mortgage statement, etc and store safely with a friend.

Good luck op, 150 a month is awful. How are you managing?

mammadiggingdeep Sat 10-May-14 18:10:22

This is awful and yes, you are being financially abused.

SolidGoldBrass Sat 10-May-14 18:38:47

I agree with everyone else. You need a good lawyer and to keep your finances completely separate from his. And to separate from him as quickly as possible. Best of luck.

And decide, from now on, that this man is your enemy and therefore lying to him and planning to leave him is perfectly all right, as is as much snooping as you can manage. He is decieving and robbing you.

Chunderella Sat 10-May-14 19:15:35

You can leave, and you'll be financially fine. The fact that you have your own business is very helpful to you, because even if it's not making enough to pay you a salary you can still claim working tax credits. When you go, you will be a single parent so you will only need to do 16 hours a week before becoming entitled. This will keep you out of the worst clutches of workfare, sanctions or whatever other shit the jobcentre dream up. There will also be child tax credits, child benefit, housing benefit and possibly a bit of council tax benefit too. You might even end up with more than £150 a month housekeeping. The local council may be able to help you with a deposit on a private rental. For fuck's sake don't put your name jointly on anything with him, and don't believe him if he tells you you're liable for his debts too. You're not unless they were in your name as well.

bragmatic Sun 11-May-14 05:17:58

If you don't know the finances, how do you know he is seriously in debt?

I agree with the posters above, re seeing a solicitor etc.

I just wonder if he's spun you some kind of line about being in debt, because it suits him for you to think he is, when in fact, he isn't?

Anyway, good luck, and take care.

purplebearbiscuit Sun 11-May-14 07:23:09

I was wondering that, brag. Maybe he's not actually in debt?

Takebackcontrol Tue 20-May-14 12:35:03

Hi all, so many thanks for your worthwhile comments above. Sorry I've not been back on for a while - it's difficult to do without being inadvertently watched plus I've been ill for a week.

In response to a few of the comments - the CB goes to me into my account, when he left the statement lying around last year that was when he was still on paper - now everything is paperless so no access there unfortunately. Great idea to speak to solicitor for free 30 minutes so will get onto Women's Aid for advice on this. I certainly won't be starting any joint bank accounts with him but do hope, should the house sell (or if he has to buy me out?) that there'll be some equity coming my way, even though it's not in my name. I'm hoping the whole marriage thing will work in my favour should this happen.

I know there are debts as he had to change jobs and drop salary last year. I recommended we speak to CAB about who we do and don't pay off as his income was lowered. At that point, he had to fill in a complete breakdown of outgoings and there were definitely credit card statements being gathered up with an approximate total debt of over £20k all in his name plus an overdraft or two. Some was wedding related (£5-£6k), but the rest was just stupid purchases I have no knowledge of. Letters and phone calls come in daily chasing payment on these but CAB told us to stand firm and only pay for the necessities - the rest of the creditors have to wait until things improve financially.

All of this makes it even worse that he started a new account before closing the old ones down and I'm betting it was with a new overdraft and credit card(s); even though the advice was to start a basic current account. The fact that hundreds of pounds are still spent on little boy toy whims must mean there's money somewhere - whether it's the odd win on something or credit cards etc I have no idea.

I don't suspect that anything is in my name as I really have no proof of ID as I'm not on anything - when I started my business I struggled to be checked by the bank as there wasn't any paperwork other than passport/driving license. I see all post coming in and there's never anything I don't expect with my name on it so I'm certain I'm clear there.

At this point I'm fighting two instincts - one rational and one emotional. My rational side tells me I'm better getting out of this downward spiral of debt and control while my emotional side frets about being back into rented accommodation like a student and with little hope of ever being back on the property ladder again. The irony is (I know ladies) I'm not on it anyway :-( It's just the idea of leaving their little bedrooms and my garden and wonderful neighbours makes me so sad.

I think the issue here is he's only happy when I'm not and I'm only happy when he's not.

My question is now, I want to approach this lightly and open up an opportunity to venture down this path so how do I go about it? He's been aggressive and angry in the past and I don't want to create a situation where I'm fleeing with my slippers on and to be fair, I don't have the stomach to say 'We need to talk'. Does it sound acceptable to ask for his attendance at a counselling session, bring the financials up (if he attends); and knowing him as I do, expect that he'll blow up there and tell me to leave if that's how I feel? Also, how far can I have things arranged so that within a week or two I have a place to be. For example can I have housing benefit pre-application done, estate agent admin/credit check/guarantor sorted ready to apply for a house etc? I have a friend I can stay with but literally only for a week or two and have no family closer than 5 or 6 hours away. Would the Summer Hols be the best time etc? How soon do things take to come through - Working tax credits, maintenance, housing benefits etc.

I want to be like Dorothy, close my eyes, click my heels and be 6 months from now in a nice little house with a cup of tea in my hand - #someonedoitforme

AttilaTheMeerkat Tue 20-May-14 12:38:48

No to any sort of joint counselling; it is never recommended when there is abuse of any sort within the relationship. Financial abuse is a serious form of abuse and you should look into separating from him asap.

BitterAndOnlySlightlyTwisted Tue 20-May-14 12:55:27

You need to contact Womens Aid! They are experts at helping women and their children escape from this kind of abuse. They will know all about what benefits you might be entitled to and might be able to help arrange alternative housing for you and you'll have access to legal advice with regard to the mortgaged home. You you could consider staying put and excluding him from the family home. Or it could mean going into a hostel for a bit, but from what you have described you'd probably be better off in one. Contact Womens Aid!

hellsbellsmelons Tue 20-May-14 12:59:09

I'm sure you want people to suggest things to fix this.
Unfortunately, on here, no-one is going to encourage to stay in an abusive relationship.
It's a no no.
The only acceptable amount of abuve is... NONE!!!
You've mentioned a couple of other things which make me believe that he is not only financially abusive.
Do contact Womens Aid.
And an absolute NO to joint counselling.
You could get counselling for yourself to see why you put up with this.
Womens Aid also run the 'Freedom Programme' which you will benenfit from.

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