Safety is the priority when divorcing an abusive partner. In these circumstances, getting away from your partner is often the best decision you can make to protect yourself.
Domestic violence can manifest as physical, sexual, emotional, or psychologically abusive behavior. Common psychologically abusive behaviors can include harassment through phone calls or online messaging, stalking, or harassment through any other form of contact. These behaviors can escalate to physical violence and may even be prosecuted depending on the circumstances.
While it may seem objectively clear that you need to distance yourself from these behaviors, you may feel afraid of the consequences of your decision to leave. This is all the more reason to separate yourself from your spouse.
Unfortunately, you may fear that your spouse’s abusive behavior may continue or even worsen during the divorce process. With this in mind, knowing the steps you can take to ensure your well-being is essential.
How Can I Protect Myself (And My Children)?
If you and your children’s health and safety are in jeopardy, your best action is to physically separate yourself from your partner before initiating the divorce process. Fear of your partner can feel paralyzing, but it is important to remember that you have agency in your relationship. Please do not wait until it is too late – leave as soon as possible. If you need help, call 911.
A Personal Protection Order May Be In Order
Abusive relationships are often accompanied by a diminished support system, as the abuser may have separated you from friends and family through manipulative means. However, remember that you are never truly alone. An attorney can help you put protections in place to ensure you and your children stay safe.
Depending on the severity of the abuse and the level of imminent danger, your attorney may advise you to obtain a Personal Protection Order (PPO) to prevent abusive behavior during or after the divorce process. If your abuser attempts to challenge the PPO, a comprehensive divorce lawyer will have your back and fight to maintain your and your children’s safety.
If you recognize patterns of domestic violence in your marriage, an experienced divorce attorney can help you safely escape these difficult circumstances.