In An Abusive Marriage? 3 Steps To Take When It’s Time To Leave

If you're in an abusive relationship, and you've decided to file for divorce, you need to take steps to protect your safety. If you fear for your safety, you shouldn't tell your spouse that you're filing for divorce until you've moved out and found a safe place to stay. Here are three steps you should take to protect yourself once you decide to file for divorce.

Find Private Ways to Contact People

Once you make the decision to file for divorce, you'll need a safe way to communicate with friends and family members. If you suspect that your spouse is monitoring your communications, here are a few things you can do to set up a line of communication to the outside world.

Pay-As-You-Go Cell Phones

If you have a cell phone that is attached to a contract that your spouse controls – or has access to – don't use it for communication after you decide to leave. Your spouse may be monitoring your phone calls. Instead, purchase a pay-as-you-go phone and keep it well-hidden.

Rental Mail Box

If you're afraid that your spouse will confiscate your mail, rent a mail box from a mail center. Be sure to rent one in an adjoining city. This will ensure that your spouse – or friends of your spouse – don't see you entering the facility. Keep your key in a safe place so that your spouse doesn't find it.

New Email Address

If your spouse routinely monitors your email, sign up for a new email address. If you suspect that your spouse has attached spyware to your home computer, go to the library or an internet café to send and receive your emails.

Start Putting Money Away

When you leave, you're going to need money for living. If you can, start putting small amounts of money away. If you're afraid that your spouse will find your money, arrange to save it at a friend, or family member's home. This will ensure that you have access to it when you're ready to leave.

Set Up a Safe House

If you're in an abusive marriage, you're going to need a safe house – somewhere safe you can go when you're ready to leave. This should be someplace where your spouse won't think to look. Choose a friend that your spouse doesn't know about, or domestic violence shelter in an adjoining city. As soon as you're there, contact your divorce lawyer. They'll be able to help you obtain a protective order against your spouse.