Creating A Domestic Violence Escape Plan
When you recognize that your relationship is not a healthy one, you should create an escape plan that will enable you to safely exit the relationship. Having a plan before you actually leave can make leaving far less difficult.
If you are married to your abuser, divorce should be part of your escape plan. But before you can file for divorce, take the following steps:
Gather All your Important Documents
Make sure you have the following when you leave the home you share with your abuser:
- Your driver’s license and all other forms of identification, such as a passport or social security card;
- Personal items like contact lenses and any prescriptions you take;
- Car-related documents like the insurance card and registration document;
- W2s, pay stubs, and all other work-related documents;
- A copy of your marriage certificate, custody order, and similar documents; and
- Your health insurance cards.
Contact a Local Domestic Violence Shelter
Get in touch with one or more of the domestic violence shelters in your area to find out about the resources that each of them offers for victims leaving abusive relationships. Some might offer help physically getting out of your house, such as free transportation or childcare while you gather your belongings and leave.
Cover All your Current and Anticipated Needs
One important precaution to take is to make sure you have the financial resources to leave the relationship. When you leave the household, make sure your collection of documents includes account numbers, passwords, and PINs for all of your bank accounts, shared and separate.
If possible, set up a secret checking account for yourself and start putting money into it in the weeks leading up to your planned escape. If you qualify for a credit card, open one in your own name to help you cover the expenses you will face after you leave.
You might need to arrange childcare or pet care for the day of your exit and the days that follow. If possible, set these up beforehand with a trusted friend or relative or with the shelter you choose. In addition to the personal documents listed above, bring anything you need for your children or pets, like formula, diapers, and their medications.
Get Legal Protection and Guidance
Once you are safely out of the home, consider enacting a protective order to keep your former spouse from contacting you or attempting to harm you again. If you work with a lawyer to enact this order, discuss divorce with him or her to start the process of exiting your marriage.
Work with an Experienced Tampa Divorce Lawyer
Domestic violence is never acceptable. If you are facing domestic violence in your marriage, make getting out safely your top priority. Do not worry about physical possessions – these are just things that can be replaced. Get your children, your pets, and yourself out of the home, then start working with an experienced Tampa divorce lawyer to legally exit the marriage. Contact Bubley & Bubley, P.A. to set up your initial consultation with us.