At the beginning, her story made everyone envious. Carla was a 21-year-old backpacker and met a handsome, successful French man in Paris and they fell in love. They both thought it would be a holiday romance. But it wasn’t. After years of Carla travelling between Australia and Paris they flew family and a few friends to be together and they married.
Their life was so shiny. They holidayed in exotic locations and lived in a beautiful apartment overlooking markets on the Right Bank. Even though she had a university degree, Carla never needed a “proper” job in Paris and she worked a few days a week in an English speaking book store. They had three children and Carla stayed at home to raise them.
She missed Australia, but thought everything was fine. This was her life. Kids and school, activities, weekends away and looking after her family. Her husband looked after the finances. He gave her a very generous allowance every week to live off and he liked to know how she spent it. He worked hard. He was also working hard at having affairs and when they started divorce proceedings when the youngest was six she found she didn’t even know how much money he made a year, or where all his bank accounts were, or that her name wasn’t on the title for their seaside property.
Carla hadn’t had a job for 12 years. She had no support network. She never had to worry about finances. The only thing Carla knew was that she was going to lose in this divorce. He had been planning this day for a long time.
In Australia, three in five women in relationships are leaving themselves open to financial abuse, this is according to recent research by CoreData.