Although divorcing an abusive spouse is the first step to taking control of your situation and starting a new life, it’s important that you remain safe as you try to end your relationship. Divorce is the type of situation that can set an abusive spouse off or make them “snap.” In addition to avoiding your ex’s physical aggression, you need to think of ways to protect yourself and your best interests as well. Below, we provide useful tips if you are trying to divorce an abusive spouse.
Gather Important Documents
You need to track down and make copies of important documents, such as life insurance policies, mortgages, passports, and social security numbers. Keep the items in a neutral, safe location and store the copies in a different location. Maintaining a safe and easy-to-access location for these documents is crucial, so you should consider giving copies to a friend or family member you can trust. If you have drafted a will, then you need to update it and remove your spouse if they were named as the beneficiary of your estate.
Cancel All Joint Accounts & Joint Cards
Spouses often have joint credit cards and bank accounts, so make sure you cancel all of the accounts you share to prevent your ex from taking any actions that will negatively impact your credit score. You might also want to close your private accounts and open new ones if you are worried your abusive ex will discover you’re separating funds or might track you down with your old information.
Consult with a Lawyer
You should meet with an experienced and knowledgeable attorney to discuss potential challenges and complications that might occur during the divorce process, as well as which legal actions you can take against an abusive spouse. A seasoned lawyer can assist with filing a restraining order and can also walk you through other preventative steps to ensure your ex does not try to harm you during or after the divorce.
Talk to Other People About Their Experiences
Talking to people who have divorced abusive spouses can help you learn how to stay safe during and after your divorce. It’s important to seek support, so let others know what is going on so that they can provide the support you need to get through this stressful time in your life. Talking to others about your experience can help ensure your privacy. For example, coworkers, friends, and neighbors who know what you are going through can watch for red flags, such as your ex going through your mail or showing up at your workplace.
Try Counseling or Therapy
It’s important to remember that you are not alone, nor is it your fault that you must leave a dangerous or abusive situation. Counseling and therapy can help you work through complex feelings you experience so you can learn how to sort them out in a productive manner. Having someone to speak to can be invaluable as you navigate your divorce and set goals for the next chapter of your life.
Dedicated Domestic Violence Lawyers in Your Corner
Orshan, Spann & Fernandez-Mesa is here to assist if you have been the victim of domestic assault, or fear for the safety of yourself or your children. Our team of skilled domestic violence attorneys provides compassionate support and the urgent legal representation that clients need. With our help, you can find fast protection from your abuser in the form of a domestic violence injunction or restraining order.
To speak with a domestic violence lawyer at our law firm, please call (305) 853-9161 today to request a case consultation.