Knowing how to best pursue a divorce with a person you've spent life with isn't easy for anyone, and the process naturally carries along with it hundreds of questions for those involved. While a lawyer can help you to navigate the tricky and bumpy road that is the legal process of divorce, there are certain situations that make the decision even harder to contemplate.
If you're currently looking to end an abusive relationship by divorcing your partner, you likely have additional questions about your partner's reaction, how long the process might take, and even your own safety. No one should have to stay with an abusive individual, and you're taking the right first steps towards freedom—but you'll want to prepare yourself mentally before jumping into the divorce.
Prepare Yourself for the Process
In order to cover all your bases, you should create a safety plan that will help you to be sure that you've got everything in hand before leaving your home. If possible, set aside cash and some clothes at a friend's home that will be safely accessible to you when the time comes.
Additionally, you should take additional steps to protect yourself from your spouse that might use your identity as a way to have control over you. In other words, don't leave your birth certificate, driver's license, or other documents of identification behind if possible. This also includes credit cards, which could be used without your permission after your absence.
Moving to a new undisclosed location can also be an important step towards the assurance of your safety, but it may not be an option for all. When you've moved from home and the abusive partner knows your location, you may need to look into the possibility of a restraining order until the divorce process is over.
Restraining Order for Your Safety
Unless there's physical evidence linking an abuser to the crime, the police may not be able to legally pin the abuse on the individual in court. To protect yourself from someone who is freely walking around town, you may want to discuss a restraining order with your attorney. Depending on the amount of time you feel you are in danger, you can either pursue a temporary or permanent restraining order:
- Temporary restraining orders are meant to be short term, lasting for just about a month—but it will be in effect as soon as you register for it.
- Permanent restraining orders can be obtained by petitioning the court, and can last for years. If broken, any type of restraining order will result in jail time or heavy fines for the one who breaks it.
It can be difficult to go through a divorce. It can be more difficult if you're divorcing from an abusive spouse. Talk with local law firms such as Thomas & Associates, PC that can help you towards safety and piece of mind.