Divorce is never easy, but leaving an abusive spouse can be dangerous and more complicated than usual. Being abused can put you in a vulnerable and emotionally fragile position, but if you are to be successful in starting a better life for you and your children, you must set aside your fears and act logically. Good preparation without your abusive spouse's knowledge is the key to ensuring your safety, so read on for important safety tips for divorcing an abusive spouse.
Take Your Children
When the time comes to make your departure, do not neglect to take your children and pets with you. Even if you are absolutely sure that your spouse would never harm them, don't give him or her a bargaining chip during any contested divorce proceedings. Additionally, you should keep in mind that the family court judge would not approve of leaving your children with an abusive spouse, which could come into play if you encounter a contested child custody situation.
Before You Get a Restraining Order
You can, and should, get an restraining order for protection from your abusive spouse if you need it, but be prepared to deal with the resulting anger and rage. It's not uncommon for abusive spouses to view spouses and children as their property, so ensuring that you have a safe place to stay after the order is served is vital. A women's or men's shelter will provide you with complete anonymity, at least temporarily.
While many states now follow the no-fault rule in divorce, in states that allow the issues that led to the divorce to be introduced and used as factors in decisions on the division of property and debt, child visitation and custody and spousal support you can expect some support, if you can prove the abuse allegations.
The help and support of a divorce attorney during this time is vital. Contact a family law professional to help you stay safe, procure restraining orders and get through your divorce in a safe and financially secure manner.
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