The introduction of the Domestic Abuse Act 2021 aims to provide clarity about what behaviour constitutes domestic abuse. Under the Act, the behaviour of a person towards another person is domestic abuse if:

  • Both parties are each aged 16 or over and are personally connected to each other; and
  • The behaviour is abusive

Different types of abuse

Behaviour can consist of a single incident or a course of conduct and will be considered abusive if it consists of any of the following:

  • Physical or sexual abuse
  • Violent or threatening behaviour 
  • Controlling or coercive behaviour 
  • Psychological, emotional, or other abuse
  • Economic abuse - any behaviour that has a substantial adverse effect on that person's ability to:

(i) acquire, use, or maintain money or other property or,

(ii) obtain goods or services 

What are the indicators of financial abuse?

Economic abuse, also known as financial abuse, can take many different forms. The abuse can include, but is not limited to:

  • controlling family money;
  • making you justify all your expenditure;
  • not allowing you to work;
  • allowing you to work but making you hand over all your wages; and
  • placing debts in your sole name. 

When sorting out finances on divorce or the dissolution of a civil partnership, it is important that both parties are honest about what they own and what income they have.

The first step in any negotiations is for each party to provide full disclosure of their income and assets and the courts treat non-disclosure seriously. The usual template to exchange financial disclosure is the Form E Financial Statement, and we can assist you in completing this. 

If you are worried about your spouse hiding or getting rid of money or property, we can help you to issue court proceedings. The court will set a timetable leading up to a final hearing, and both parties will have a duty to provide the court with details of their financial circumstances.  

Surviving Economic Abuse

The charity, Surviving Economic Abuse (SEA), has some helpful information if you are concerned that you have been the victim of domestic abuse or if you are trying to spot someone who has.

In partnership with Money Advice Plus, SEA runs the Financial Support Line, a telephone service that can offer practical support if you have been the victim of financial abuse. The advisors can help you to safely open a new bank account, assist you in developing a budget and give you strategies for dealing with debt, including coerced debt. You can call the support line on 0808 196 8845 9.00am until 5.00pm Monday to Thursday.

Here to help

We understand that matters concerning domestic abuse are both complex and sensitive. We know how to act promptly when faced with matters involving domestic abuse, and we can consider whether there are any immediate safeguarding issues that need to be addressed. If you have any more questions or would like more information, you can contact the Family Law Team below.

Contact Us

You can contact a member of our team using the contact form below or by phoning us on

0161-941-4000