I am in a domestic partnership. My partner and I are not married and do not have any form of civil partnership. We bought a house and we are both on the mortgage and deed. We also bought a car, and I’m a cosigner but I’m not on the title.
My partner is emotionally abusive and I want to leave, but if I moved into an apartment of my own I wouldn’t be able to afford the mortgage and car payments if she failed to pay. And if I lost my job (which I’m afraid I’d be at risk of if she started harassing me in person or by phone at my workplace), I would be in huge trouble. I know that she’s using the mortgage and car loan to keep me trapped, because she is psychologically unstable and doesn’t want to be alone.
She controls my finances. I agreed to this early on. If I needed to pay a lawyer to help me with this, I would have to ask her for money, and she could easily say no. And she would definitely get suspicious. I do have a bank account that she does not have access to and I have thought about switching the direct deposit from my job to that. The paycheck amount is enough to pay for an apartment. I haven’t found a way to secretly save money toward leaving, because I just haven’t been able to figure out any other source of income besides my job.
I’m very introverted so I don’t have friends who I could stay with, and I’m scared of trying to live with roommates because I have been in situations like that before and it didn’t work out well because of my shyness.
I’m on the mortgage and car loan with my emotionally abusive domestic partner who controls my finances, and I really want to get out this abusive relationship and have hope for a happy life by myself, but how can I do that without putting myself at risk of ruined credit or legal problems?
Well we have two distinct issues, the violence and the debt. The first is with the domestic violence from your partner. Domestic violence can be emotional or physical. It doesn’t really matter, you are afraid for your wellbeing.
While I’d love for this to end well and without any complications on your part I don’t think it will.
It clearly seems that for your own sanity and safety that you need to make a clean break here. If you have little equity in the property it seems like the best plan of action would be multi-step SWAT style approach.
What if you considered the following approach.
- Contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233, or on the web, here. They can help you with information on getting protection from your partner.
- Change your direct deposit to the other bank account only you have control of.
- Find a new place to live.
- Click here to talk to a local bankruptcy attorney about making a totally clean break from your joint debts and obligations.
Then what you could do is find a new apartment, change the direct deposit, implement your domestic violence protection plan, get some friends or professional movers to help you get out quickly when she is not home, go to the bank and take out your part of the money in that joint account and remove your name from it, and tidy this up with a quick bankruptcy to fully and cleanly terminate your legal relationship with her over these debts. Without the bankruptcy the debt will still tie you together and what you really need is a total and complete break.