Strategies To Know When Leaving An Abusive Relationship
Leaving an abusive or controlling relationship can be a challenge. Not only are there many emotions to work through, you may also be concerned about the future and safety of you and your children. The following four strategies can help you prepare to leave the relationship in a manner that can help keep you and your kids secure.
#1: Make financial arrangements
Although not strictly necessary, the entire process can be much easier if you have some financial resources at your disposal. The best case scenario is that you have an independent source of income and can set up a personal checking account that your spouse does not know about and cannot access. If this isn't possible, make sure you have a way to quickly withdraw money from your joint accounts. It's not uncommon to have to flee without your wallet, so you may want to leave a blank check or even a debit card with a trusted family member just so you have a way to access money quickly. As soon as you are in a safe place, make a withdrawal. Waiting too long gives your spouse time to cancel your cards or close an account.
#2: Make copies of needed information
In the days leading up to leaving, make copies of all important documents and store them in a safe place outside of the house. This includes birth certificates and identification for you and the children, financial records, and records of any joint property ownership. Having these items on hand can help speed up any legal process that is initiated.
#3: Choose a safe place
The next step before you leave is to determine a safe place. The safest place is one where your spouse will not think to look, especially if you are worried that they may become violent. Consider contacting a domestic violence shelter; they can give you a private place to live for a few days while your spouse calms down and legal proceedings are initiated.
#4: Contact a lawyer
The best time to contact a divorce or family law attorney is before you leave, but in an emergency it's understandable if the first contact is after you have left. They can begin the process of filing for temporary emergency custody of the kids, filing a restraining order, and beginning the divorce process. They may even be able to secure you some of your joint financial assets if you are left destitute when you flee the relationship.
Contact an attorney like Eschbacher Law for more information.