The decision to leave a marriage is always difficult, but the decision to leave an abusive spouse can be complicated and dangerous, and requires plenty of preparation before attempting. Try to remain logical and put some safeguards in place before you let your abusive spouse know that what you are planning. Place a high priority on both you and your children's safety by following the guidelines and tips below.
Make a plan.
You will need help and support to accomplish your escape from this abusive marriage. Don't allow your embarrassment about the situation keep you from being honest with your potential support network. You will also need money, so begin stashing some away if possible. Have a safe place to put some of your more valuable or sentimental belongings, such as a friend's house or a rented storage room. Abusive spouses often stoop to holding precious items like photos hostage in retaliation for the spouse's efforts to leave.
Don't leave without your children.
Take both your children and pets with you when you leave. While you may be confident that your spouse would not harm your children, you are presenting your abusive spouse with a means to bargain with during the divorce process. Moreover, the courts would likely disapprove of leaving children with an abusive spouse, which could be a factor if child custody is contested.
Be prepared for the restraining order.
If you get a restraining order to keep your spouse away, be ready to deal with the resulting rage. Abusive spouses sometimes look upon spouses and children as their personal property, and you should be ready for the possibility of extreme and violent behavior by ensuring that you have a safe place to stay immediately after the order is served, such as a women's shelter.
Most states take a no-fault stance on divorce now, but there are still a few states that allow fault, like spousal abuse, to determine property division. If you live in one of the "at-fault" states, you will be expected to prove fault in court.
Many states now require that divorces that end up in court go through court-mandated mediation. If you so ordered, you may be able to receive a waiver for this requirement by proving abuse.
Though it may seem like another minute spent with an abuser is too much, good preparation can make the difference between a safe and successful divorce from an abusive spouse and a difficult and dangerous parting. Schedule a meeting with a divorce attorney to get started on a better future for you and your children.
To learn more, contact a law firm like Law Office of Shelli Wright Johnson.