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Financial tips for domestic violence victims

If you've been victimized by domestic violence in Florida and you're trying to move forward with your life, these tips can help. They all relate to finances, which can be rather problematic when breaking off a relationship.

1. Learn about the community resources that you can use. In some cases, there are shelters where you can stay, places to get meals, benefits that can be paid out, emergency assistance funds and the like. If money is tight, these resources can help tremendously.

2. Check your credit report. Your credit score has a huge impact on your ability to get loans, credit cards, and things of this nature. Your abuser may be able to harm your credit with joint accounts, so you want to cancel these accounts to keep it from happening.

3. Protect your financial information—and other important documents that are needed during the legal process—by getting your own post office box. Don't have mail delivered to the address where your abuser lives.

4. Change passwords and personal identification numbers (PINs). You may have these on your bank account or credit card account. It's also good to talk to the utilities companies to make sure you're the only one who has control over your power, water, gas and the like.

5. If you have a will or a life insurance policy, be sure to update them. Make sure you change your beneficiaries to cut the abuser out. Even if you change your will, insurance policies have to be changed separately.

Keep all these tips in mind as you sort through the legal process and work to protect yourself.

Source: NNEDV, "Financial Tips for Victims and Survivors," accessed March 18, 2016

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