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How to Start the Divorce Process to End Domestic Violence
If you’ve been experiencing abuse in your marriage, you’re not alone. Studies show that violence occurs at least once in as many as two-thirds of all marriages, and in the vast majority of cases, the woman is the victim. When there is a pattern of abuse, any children in the household can end up with an increased risk of growing up and becoming victims of abuse – or of becoming abusers.
Ending this cycle is critical for your safety and well being, as well as for the safety and well being of your children. Many victims of domestic abuse are intimidated by the thought of pursuing divorce from an abusive spouse, usually because they fear that taking that initial step may lead to further abuse. This can be a valid fear, but ultimately the only way to end the violence for good may be to end the relationship. With the right resources and support, you can safely end the marriage and move on with your life.
The first step you must take is to ensure that you and your children are safe in the short term. If there is an imminent threat of violence, legal advice can wait while you take steps to protect yourself. If you don’t have somewhere safe to go, call the police or your local domestic violence relief agency to get help in finding a safe location. File criminal charges against your spouse for the abuse that has already occurred so that it becomes a matter of court record.
While safety is your number one concern, be aware that leaving your home without your spouse’s knowledge and without consulting an attorney may have consequences down the road. It may impact your ability to collect alimony or gain access to the home again until the divorce is finalized and all property matters are settled. Still, there is no property or amount of money that is worth risking your safety or that of your children.
If you don’t feel that there is an immediate threat, talk to an attorney before taking any action so that you can best protect your interests. You may be able to petition the civil courts for a temporary order protecting your custody, property, and safety, and giving you the right to press charges if your spouse violates the order. You will want to be as specific and objective as possible when telling your story to the court so that the judge will have a clear picture of what has happened and how best to protect you going forward.
To learn more about a domestic violence or sexual abuse attorney in San Diego, visit this website.
Paul advises people on divorce and family law matters. You can find his thoughts at Blogspot blog.
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