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Preparing to divorce an abusive spouse

On Behalf of | Jul 26, 2023 | Divorce Mediation

It takes a lot of courage to admit you’re in an abusive marriage and even more to take steps to end it. But there’s only so much hurt a person can take. Making the decision to leave a troubled marriage is admirable, but navigating a divorce with an abusive spouse is another obstacle.

You must carefully plan how to file for divorce, given your situation. You never know how your spouse will react, so it is best to be prepared.

Before filing for divorce

Getting out of an abusive marriage isn’t as simple as closing the door and walking away. In many abusive relationships, the abuser isolates the victim from friends and family and cuts off their source of income, making it harder to leave.

Consider the following before filing for divorce:

  • Start compiling the necessary documents and items to bring in case you need to leave quickly. You will likely need your driver’s license, IDs, ATM card, marriage certificate, child’s birth certificate, cash and medications. Keep them in a safe place while you finish gathering them.
  • Tell trustworthy friends or family about your plan so that you can call them in an emergency. It can help come up with a codeword that you can text or say over the phone to alert them when anything goes wrong immediately.
  • Create a separate bank account where you can deposit your paycheck; if you can’t, at least stash some cash in a safe place whenever possible.
  • Identify a reliable person who can pick up your children and look after them on short notice.
  • Make sure you are in a public, safe area before informing your partner that you want to end the relationship or get a divorce.
  • Look for an attorney. Be honest about the abuse you endured and what you want to happen. When they have all the details, they can help you out much better.

How an attorney can help you

Your spouse may not have the best reaction to a divorce. They might delay the divorce or plot to use the kids against you. A divorce attorney can help you explore your options for protecting your children from further abuse.

Having legal representation may also help limit spouse communication. Instead, each of your attorneys can negotiate the terms of the divorce settlement on your behalf.

A divorce is traumatic enough without the added stress of physical or emotional abuse; nevertheless, you are not alone. A divorce attorney can be a powerful ally in this trying time.