…if I file for divorce.
If you live with an abusive spouse you how dangerous and difficult it can be, but filing for a divorce could push him over the edge. What are you to do?
First and foremost if you are living in an abusive relationship, you need to get out immediately. Men that are physically violent can have a complete melt down if they feel like they are not in control anymore. If you feel that you are, right now, in immediate danger, you need to call 911 for help. If not, you can contact a domestic violence shelter and ask for someone to escort you so you can get out of the house.
It is important to separate yourself from your abusive spouse, especially if there are kids involved, once you are separated you can seek help and advice on filing for a divorce. In some cases it might be necessary to file for a restraining order against your husband.
What if you don’t work, your husband controls the finances and you want to get yourself and the kids out of the house? It certainly is hard to get around if you have no money or transportation, but your main concern needs to be to get the kids out of there and to a safe environment. Check with the local domestic violence shelter and see if they can offer any help or suggestions.
No matter your circumstance, once you get out of the house and to a safe location, you need to file for divorce. You will want to file in family court, an order for custody and temporary spousal and child support. With money tight or nonexistent, you might be able to find an attorney that will work with you on cost and perhaps agree to installment payments. If that is not an option, you might want to start learning about how to file for divorce on your own, without a lawyer.
When you are in an abusive relationship it can be hard to leave. You might feel like it is impossible or you just feel too afraid to leave. If you are unable to just pick up and leave you must at least start planning your escape. Let’s discuss a few things you can do without raising any suspicion in your spouse.
Protect Yourself. As mentioned before, if you are being physically abused you must get out now. Forget planning, call 911, gather up the kids and get out. If things are going along as usual and you are in no immediate danger however, you can contact the local court and speak with the clerk to see how to start the process of getting a restraining order against your spouse. Call when your spouse is at work or away somewhere.
Get Ready. You need to be prepared so when the time or opportunity comes you can get out quickly. Find that someone to confide in and arrange a place for you and your kids to stay for a while as you work to get back on your feet. Once you start making preparations you might start feeling more scared as the reality of your escape nears. Stay strong, life will be much better once you get out.
Gather Evidence. Get together any evidence you might have of your spouse’s abuse. You will likely have to go to court to press charges for the abuse or to get a restraining order. Get whatever you have, medical records, copies of police reports, pictures on injuries, etc.
Go! When the time is right get out. It could be while he is at work or even just left for the store, no matter; you will know when the time is right to leave. Do not tell anyone where you are going, just go and get there and be safe. Once you are at your safe place, you can use it as a base of operation and start implementing the things you need to do to get a divorce up and running.
Don’t look back. Once you are out, do not go back unaccompanied for any reason. You are out, you do not need him anymore and you will depend on yourself from now on and get your life back on track.
The psychological effects of an abusive spouse can be intense and can give you a sense of betrayal, feelings of worthlessness and a strong belief that you can’t survive outside of your abusive marriage. It’s important that you seek help from a professional who has experience in with the psychology of domestic violence so you can come to terms with your ordeal and start the healing process.