If you've been the victim of domestic violence, filing for divorce can ignite an already volatile situation. You need to make sure that your safety – and the safety of your children, if you have any – is your number one concern. You need to be prepared to protect yourself while you're going through the divorce process. Here are three steps you should take that will help once you decide to get out.
Contact an Attorney
Contacting a divorce attorney in your area is the first step you should take in this situation. Your attorney will be able to arrange for a protective order for you. This protective order will make it illegal for your spouse to come anywhere near you. If you have children, your attorney may be able to add your children to the order, as well. This is particularly true if your children were also victims of abuse at the hands of your spouse.
Your attorney will also set the wheels in motion for your divorce. Once you leave your home, it's important that you let your attorney know where you'll be staying. They'll need that information to ensure your safety and to make sure you receive necessary paperwork in timely manner.
Set Up a Safe-House
When it's time to leave, you're going to need supplies and a safe place to go. Don't try to keep supplies anywhere that your spouse may find them – such as the trunk of your car or under your bed. Instead, arrange a safe-house – a place where you know your belongings will be safe and that you can get to quickly.
Try not to choose the home of a family member for your safe-house. In most cases, your spouse will check those places first once they discover that you're gone. Instead, choose a friend or co-worker that your spouse doesn't know. Store a suitcase with a couple of days-worth of clothing, as well as personal hygiene items, important papers and some cash.
Locate a Domestic Abuse Shelter
Once you've arranged the safe-house, you're going to need to locate a domestic abuse shelter in your area. Domestic abuse shelters are designed to provide safe-haven for victims of abuse. The staff at the shelter will be able to help you arrange the services that you're going to be in need of.
If you're the victim of domestic abuse, don't try to facilitate a divorce by yourself. Help is available. The information provided here will help keep you safe while you file for divorce.
My husband and I had a great marriage for about ten years--that is, until he started cheating on me. I found out about it from a friend, and once I started peeling off the layers of my husband's lies, I realized that we hardly had anything to salvage in the first place. I decided that it would be best to get divorced, but I knew that it would be painful and difficult. This blog is for anyone out there who needs to gather the strength to get divorced. Check out these posts to learn more about the process and how the right lawyer can help.