Intentional Economic Abuse. It’s a term used in a recent unpublished family law decision. You may be wondering what it entails. More importantly, you’ll want to know how it pertains to domestic violence.
The matter of C.G. v. E.G. was decided just last month in Ocean County. The litigants represented themselves. The husband and wife are separated from each other for an undetermined amount of time. The case was brought by C.G., the estranged wife.
According to the factual background contained in the court opinion, C.G. was collecting Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits for an undisclosed disability. At some point, C.G. felt ready to return to work and contacted her old boss to discuss resuming employment. She was offered her old job as a waitress.
What ensued next was the intentional economic abuse. C.G. stated that E.G. threatened her by text message. He also began calling the restaurant where C.G. had resumed employment. E.G. not only spoke to C.G.’s boss, but also the boss’ wife. He claimed the two were having an affair. His mission was to have C.G. fired from work.
By way of further history, C.G. testified that E.G. had called her disparaging names in the past. He had also given her a black eye. C.G. offered all of this information in support of her application for a restraining order. Although E.G. did not admit to any of the foregoing events, he did not offer credible evidence to the contrary.
With the exception of the black eye, none of the allegations against E.G. were of a physical nature. Many think of domestic violence as only having to do with physical acts. C.G. was awarded the restraining order. Wondering why?
Intentional Economic Abuse Can Be Viewed as Domestic Violence
We have previously provided you with important information about domestic violence. The statute clearly spells out the fourteen categories that constitute an act of domestic violence. Clearly, there is none that is entitled “intentional economic abuse”.
Ocean County Superior Court Judge Lawrence Jones, the judge in the C.G. v. E.G. decision acknowledged that the harm done to C.G. was non-physical. However, that did not stop it from being an act of domestic violence. The judge used the term economic harassment as a non-physical form of domestic abuse. He said it included the following:
- Purposeful acts which a defendant perpetrates while intending that such acts either:
- impair or obstruct a plaintiff’s actual or prospective job or job-related duties, or
- threaten to do so with the purpose of controlling plaintiff , and/or pressuring or intimidating plaintiff into submitting to defendant’s demands or wishes
In short, Judge Jones ruled that the defendant had created a sense of fear. The plaintiff was worried that she could lose her job and prospective earnings due to the defendant’s actions. Obviously, the fear of being without money is a major threat. It seemed obvious that the defendant’s intent in contacting the plaintiff’s employer was to create a feeling of despair. For this reason, it was appropriate to consider intentional economic abuse as domestic violence.
Just about every marital separation can be difficult. If you are ending a marriage and need professional legal advice, the Law Offices of Sam Stoia can assist you. There is no charge for the initial meeting. Contact us to schedule an appointment.