Any abusive relationship can be dangerous and difficult to get out of,
but an abusive spouse can be especially challenging to escape. If you
are ready to leave your abusive marriage, there are ways in which a lawyer
can help. When you are ready to seek a divorce, it is important that you
follow the right steps, but in situations where domestic violence is involved,
this becomes especially crucial. To protect yourself, make sure you take
the right precautions when leaving your abusive spouse.
Reach Out For Help
First of all, it is important that you reach out to family, friends, and
domestic abuse organizations who can help you. Your closest friends and
trusted family members will want to help you and protect you however they
can, so trust them with the truth and take the initial steps to face your
current situation and find the support you need. Whether you are on your
own or have children to look out for, there are various organizations
out there geared towards helping individuals just like you.
When you reach out for help, make sure you are prepared to act quickly
and protect yourself until you can get away. In other words, if your spouse
is intrusive or controlling and monitors what you search online or who
you call, make sure you cover your tracks and protect yourself. Many organizations, like
The National Domestic Violence Hotline, can clear your browser history for you after you’ve visited their
site. In the event that your spouse does find out and you believe you
are in immediate danger, call 911 immediately.
Make a Practical Plan
Friends, family members, and domestic violence organizations can help you
come up with an initial plan. First, you will want to pack up your essentials,
and those for your children, if you have any, and find somewhere safe
to go. In most cases, announcing your request for a divorce should be
done personally, but in cases of abuse, you should definitely avoid confrontation
and leave a note, email, or wait until your lawyer sends your spouse the
appropriate papers. If you have children, do not leave them with your
abuser. Even if your spouse has not abused them in the past, if you leave,
your spouse may choose to use them against you.
Your plan should include a safe place to go and how to get there. If you
have family members or friends you trust, make sure their home can be
locked against your spouse if he or she may come looking for you there.
Again, if you ever feel you are in immediate danger, call the police for help.
Develop a Legal Plan
Once your most immediate concerns have been addressed and you’ve
left your abuser, you need to develop a sound legal plan to continue guarding
yourself against your spouse’s intervention. If you were abused,
your attorney will discuss your right to an order of protection. An order
of protection can be granted immediately to prevent your abuser from contacting
either you or your children. Once a temporary order has been granted,
you can then work to petition the court for a more lasting order of protection.
If you have children, you can also ask the court for temporary custody
until a more permanent arrangement can be made.
The order of protection can also force your abusive spouse to leave the
family home so that you and your children can live there safely. Under
an order of protection, your spouse will be forbidden from contacting
you, approaching you, visiting your home, your workplace, or your school.
Getting away from your abuser often isn’t enough, but with legally-binding
protection, your spouse will be required to give you the space you need,
and if he or she breaks the order, the police can enforce it and protect you.
If you need help divorcing your abusive spouse, our experienced Yonkers
divorce attorney is here to help. Contact The Law Firm of Wayne F. Crowe, Jr., P.C.
today to get started.