When it's time to get yourself out of a bad situation, taking a slow, careful, and well-thought-out approach is vital. Everything you do when you are suffering from spousal abuse could put you or your children in danger, so read on for some tips to stay safe while you untie the knot that holds you to an abusive spouse.
Plan Your Escape
Don't try to leave an abusive situation on your own; you will need some support from friends and family members. If you think they don't already know, then it's time to stop feeling embarrassed, and seek help. Abuse can escalate into far worse, so swallow your pride, and locate a safe place to go to when you make your move. Begin stashing valuable belongings somewhere ahead of time, in case you have to leave your home suddenly. Don't allow your abusive spouse to hold any belongings over your head in an attempt to force you back home. Needless to say, any money you can hide away will come in handy.
Consider Your Children
Be sure to make plans to take your children and any pets with you, when you go. No matter how sure you are that your spouse would never harm them, don't take any chances. Abusive spouses, even those who love and care for their children, will not hesitate to use them as a bargaining chip, either to get you back or with divorce.
The Restraining Order
If there is anything that could set your abusive spouse off, it might be the restraining order. If you can show proof of abuse, you should take legal action against your spouse, and ensure they are presented with an order to stay away from you and to cut off all contact with you. Just be sure that you are ready with a safe place to go, if things turn ugly and violent as a result. Try to be very far away when the order is served, even if you have to seek help from a shelter.
Divorce and Fault
The number of states that allow fault to come into divorce property and debt settlement decisions vary, with some states offering a confusing hybrid. The important point to consider about this issue is proof. If you do divorce in a "fault" state, be ready to show proof. In this case, you might show police reports or medical records showing the abuse. Another consideration is the mediation mandate. If you must attend a required divorce mediation, you may be given a waiver in the event of proof of abuse by your spouse.
It may be difficult, but preparation for splitting up could never be more important. Speak with a divorce attorney, who will offer you support and more tips on staying safe from an abuser and safely getting out of that bad marriage.
For more information, talk to companies like Granowitz, White & Weber Attorneys at Law.