Sonja checked into shelter with her three children. She had worked as a CNA (Certified Nursing Assistant) for a few years after her marriage but NEVER had access to her paycheck or to what she presumed was a joint bank account.
For the eight years of her marriage the only money she had was what her husband Nathan gave her for household shopping. She didn’t know what they owed on ‘their’ mortgage or utilities costs. Nathan locked all financial documents in his desk.
Sonja came to the Friendship Home’s Economic Empowerment group her first week in shelter. At the end of the group she asked the facilitating Advocate if she could talk to her about her financial situation.
Over the next few weeks, Sonja would learn, there was no Joint Account, it was only in her husband’s name, nor was her name on the mortgage for their home. Interestingly enough because of Nathan’s controlling behaviors, Sonja was that rare victim who had no negative credit history.
With an Advocate’s help, Sonja was referred to an attorney who volunteered to work with her pro bono to initiate a legal separation and ensure she would be fairly awarded assets from the marriage.