Domestic violence can affect anyone. It does not care about race, age, religion, station, gender, or income level. Worst of all, when domestic violence and divorce mix, the risk to a victim can increase. If you are planning to leave a violent relationship, it is critical that you know how to protect yourself during divorce.
Always Have a Safety Plan in Place
No matter where you are in the divorce process – be it simply planning for one or in the process of filing – always have a safety plan in place. Know where you can go, whom you should call, and always have an escape plan. And, if you have already escaped, up your security. Notify friends, neighbors, family, and colleagues of the situation and, if at all possible, install a home security system. Most of all, do not engage with your abuser for any reason. Change your phone number, if necessary, and secure a police escort if you need to pick up things from a home you shared.
File the Proper Paperwork
In addition to filing for divorce, you should also file a restraining order against your abuser. This gives you legal documentation that abuse has occurred, and it requires that your abuser not harass you at work, at home, or at any other location. It also gives you a course of action, should they violate the order. You can immediately call the police and have them removed.
Planning for divorce is a complex issue, even without the risk of domestic violence. Your increased risk for financial abuse and/or physical violence adds another layer of difficulty to the matter. As such, you should take appropriate action in the weeks and months leading up to your divorce. If at all possible, start to save money and keep it in a safe place. Start gathering documents that you will need, such as marriage licenses, photographs, identification, and passports. Store them in a safe place. However, do not place yourself at risk to obtain these items. If you are at an immediate risk for violence, it is better to leave with nothing.
Get Skilled and Experienced Help
If you are filing for divorce against an abusive spouse, it is critical that you have someone on your side. Seek support from family members, friends, and even outside sources, like therapists and domestic violence counselors. Above all, obtain skilled legal representation for your divorce. This can ensure you have the protection you need, and that your needs are carefully considered in the settlement of your divorce.
At Sullivan Taylor, Gumina & Palmer, P.C., we take your situation seriously and we treat you with the respect that you deserve. Dedicated to your best interest, we provide the protection you need and help you pursue the most favorable outcome possible in your divorce case. To learn more about how we can help with your situation, contact our Naperville, Illinois divorce attorneys today. Call us at 630-665-7676.