A woman's hands typing on laptop. There is a calculator and stacks of US monetary bills on the tabletop next to here. She is managing her budget.

A woman managing her budget and finances. She is typing on a laptop.

This information is not legal advice and is for educational purposes only. Please consider your own situation, safety, and ability to do any/all of these things. Not everything will apply to you.

When you’re putting together a go-bag or resources, whether for a disaster emergency, or due to a domestic violence incident, here are some of the financial items to make copies of and have ready.

Key Take Aways:

  • Make copies of your financial documents, including bank statements, credit cards and insurance documents.
  • Put your documents in a safe place, along with you & your children’s passports and necessary legal documents (social security cards, driver’s license).
  • Set up an account separate from your partner (if you are able), even a Cashapp, Venmo or GoFundMe via a friend so you have some financial means when you leave.
  • Monitor your finances/credit to ensure your former partner hasn’t made accounts in your name.
  • Change your beneficiary on everything to someone you trust.

Financial Records

Gather your bank statements, credit card statements and health insurance records for you, and any dependents. If you cannot get originals, make copies or screenshot the statements, and put them with your other documents.

If you have mortgage statements, rental agreement, and insurance, you’ll want to ensure you keep copies of those documents.

Additional documents to keep safe & make copies, your driver’s license, passports for you and your children, and social security cards.

Financial Accounts

If possible, open a bank account in your own name to create an emergency fund. If this isn’t an option, consider setting up a Cashapp, Venmo, GoFundMe through a friend or on a backup burner phone (if you have one).

If none of these are options for you, when you go to the store or do shopping, request small amounts of cash back and tuck that away somewhere safe.

Use a new bank, preferably one you’ve not used before. Any bank accounts previously associated with you may link back to your previous accounts, and information could be disclosed to others or potentially grant access to your abuser.

To avoid having bank or credit card statements and documents sent to your home, set up a PO box or use a trusted friend or family member’s address.

If setting up a PO box is cost prohibitive for you, establish a new email address and have the statements sent as e-documents.

Financial Inventory

It’s important to understand your finances, so you can plan to leave and know what that requires. If your spouse is in charge of family finances, it’s essential you gain an understanding of your assets, liabilities, income and expenses.

Make a simple list of assets, think bank accounts, investment accounts, retirement accounts, real estate, etc., liabilities (credit card debt, loans, mortgages, liens), and income that can help you learn to budget for when you’ve left your situation.

Ensure your bills are up to date if you can, late payments can ding your credit and make it harder for you to get new bank accounts or credit.

Monitor your accounts carefully, to ensure no accounts have been opened in your name without your knowledge. Identity theft and borrowing on a spouse’s name are common tactics of an abuser to control you financially and emotionally.

Estate Documents

If you’re married and your situation allows, locate your powers of attorney documents, medical directive and take copies of those documents with you.

In abusive situations, if your partner is your agent for financial transactions, it’s possible they still have power to access existing accounts or establish credit in your name.

When you’re safe, you should review your estate planning documents and beneficiaries for life insurance, pensions, investments, and any other assets. Change the beneficiary to someone you trust, who is safe, who is not your former partner.

Once You’ve Left

Ensure you secure your financial data.

Go through your accounts and remove/revoke access to your accounts that your spouse no longer has ability to see your transactions or financial information.

If you’ve not done so, create a new mail address for financial accounts as well as any utilities and other accounts.

Use secure passwords that people you know can’t guess. Ideally use a password manager, but if you don’t have one, be sure you do not use birthdays, nicknames or addresses.

Change your PIN numbers and passcodes/passwords for bank accounts, credit cards, lines of credit, utilities, and other accounts.

Obtain a PO box if possible and change your addresses on your financial accounts.

Secure Income & Assets

Close joint accounts if you are able, whether bank accounts or credit cards, and then open a new bank account in your name only. Use an entirely new bank that neither you nor your partner have used before. You want a bank where you have no existing relationship that could link you and your partner.

Get a copy of your annual credit report from annualcreditreport.com. You’ll want to check your information periodically and monitor your credit.

As mentioned before, abusers often use their partner’s Social Security Number or power of attorney to open credit accounts in their partner’s name as a means of control or financing their lifestyle.

If you see any fraudulent accounts, report them to the credit bureaus and your account providers. You might consider putting a credit freeze on your accounts, once you’ve established new ones for yourself; This will help prevent identity theft and fraud.

Protection Orders

If you get a restraining or protective order, ensure you speak with an attorney, court advocate or case manager about whether you can/should request economic relief provisions in the order.

Not every state or locality has provisions for economic relief, but the court might be able to order support payments or restitution for damages as a result of abuse or use of residence; The court might also prohibit the abuser from accessing your accounts or assets.


Finally, a reminder that some of these things may not apply to you, and the decisions and choices you need to make are unique to your situation. You know what things are right for you.

If you need additional help making decisions, talk to a trusted friend, your advocate, or schedule a consultation here

Additionally, see our resources page or join Security Snacks community for more simple, snackable, security solutions.