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Preparing To Leave An Abusive Marriage


Couple arguing by window, profile
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Domestic violence is about control. Aggression is primitive and immature reactions to a sense of helplessness and feeling a loss of control by the abuser. If you are preparing to leave an abusive marriage you should expect the abuser to feel even less control. In other words, expect problems and be prepared for problems. Below are some actions you should take before leaving:

  • Interview with an attorney. Preferably one with experience in dealing with domestic violence issues.,
  • If you feel your safety is at risk get a civil or criminal restraining order and have it in place before you leave.
  • Have somewhere to go. Research local women’s shelters, ask a friend if you can stay with her/him or, if you can afford it rent an apartment but, keep your address from your husband.
  • Take with you copies of important documents and personal items such as:
    1. Birth certificates, driver’s license, social security card, health insurance cards, deed to any property you own and passport bank account statements, money and credit cards.
    2. Copies of any outstanding restraining orders or court orders you have against your husband/wife.
    3. Needed clothes and personal effects.
  • If you move into a single-family residence, install exterior lighting and a home security system if possible. Get to know your neighbors and ask the to let you know if they see anyone snooping around your property.
  • Get a post office box and fill out a change of address card with the post office. Have your mail forwarded to the post office box, not to where you will be living.
  • Talk to your child’s teachers and principle. Let them know what is going on and ask to be notified if your abuser shows up at school. Leave copies of any restraining orders or court orders you have pertaining to the situation.
  • Acquire a cell phone. Prepaid cell phones are excellent because the calls can’t be traced. Don’t give your cell phone or home phone number to your abuser or anyone who might give it to him.
  • Talk to trusted family and friends so that you will be surrounded by a support system. Take advantage of the support they have to offer.

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