Love may be in the air for some happy couples, but 2024 is the year for messy divorces filled with financial abuse and infidelity.

In February, the “Real Housewives of Atlanta” alum Porsha Williams made headlines for filing divorce papers from her husband, Simon Guobadia. After less than two years of marriage, they decided it was best for them to go their separate ways. The split announcement shocked fans as their love story was highly publicized for its love triangle controversy with Guobadia’s ex-wife and former RHOA co-star Falynn Pina.

In recent news about their divorce, Williams’ estranged and soon-to-be former husband is demanding the details of her multi-million dollar deal with Bravo. The network confirmed her return to the Atlanta franchise in February, announcing an overall scripted talent deal with NBCUniversal Entertainment. 

However, Williams is not backing down from the battle and Guobadia’s attempts to involve Bravo in their legal drama. In April, she submitted claims of Guobadia trying to “overburden, annoy, harass and oppress” her with his requests to access her contracts and financial documents related to the show. According to legal documents obtained by Radar Online, she also accused him of striving to “threaten her reputation, career and ability to earn income.”

Guobadia’s efforts to control Williams’ employment, which directly impacts her livelihood, can be categorized as a sign of financial abuse. This tactic is a way abusers control their victims to prevent their partner from leaving. Here are the most common types of financial abuse and protective measures to take if you’re in a similar situation.

The Different Types of Financial Abuse

Control Of Finances

Each couple runs their household differently. One way is allowing their partner to manage their finances. This could mean being the main person to pay the bills, track spending expenses and take on other financial responsibility. This way of supervising costs is healthy as long as both partners agree to the systems in place. 

The turning point from managing to controlling the finances shifts when a partner takes away access to the money. Taking away a person’s access to cash removes their ability to obtain the necessities for survival. The victim is forced to increase their dependence on their partner as a result.

Sabotaging Job Income

Interfering with the opportunity to make an income is another sign of financial abuse. Being overly critical of their partner’s career or pressuring them to quit are red flags. Unemployment makes a person vulnerable to depend on their partner to live. Not being able to contribute to the household financially creates an unequal balance of power. This can leave a partner feeling powerless.

Coerced Debt

Forcing a partner to make transactions that leads to them being in debt is one of the most harmful signs of financial abuse. Coercive control involves demanding specific actions from their partner. Threats or violence can result from their demands not being met.

Taking out a loan in their name, using their credit card or forcing purchases are some examples of these behaviors. A debt coerced through financial abuse is a severe form, as the permanent damages make it difficult to recover.

Credit Exploitation

Another severe case of financial abuse is ruining the credit score and history of their partner. Forbes described the behavior as opening a line of credit in the other person’s name and then refusing to make payments.

Those who don’t have access to their accounts, bills or financial statements typically don’t know about the transactions occurring under their name. Ruining a person’s credit greatly impacts their future by making it more difficult to own a home, car or take out future loans.

How To Protect Yourself

Make An Exit Plan

Letting a close friend or family member know about the situation may make them more inclined to provide housing and other support until you can be independent again. If that’s not an option, looking into an emergency shelter or domestic violence center can provide additional resources and help distance you from the life-threatening circumstances.

Compile Important Documents

Gathering your social security card, bank information, passport, driver’s license and any other personal documents will help you transition. Employers require this information when hiring new employees. Having your bank information lets you change PIN codes and inform them of what’s happening.

Find Your Credit Report

Identifying the amount of damage done can help while recovering from the credit impact. You’ll be able to see if there are open accounts under your name. This information will come in handy when building a case for identity theft.