How to File for Divorce From a Dangerous Man

By Beverly Bird

Domestic violence can compound an already complex situation when you decide to divorce your abuser. When you also fear for your safety and that of your children, you must take precautions to keep yourself and your family safe. However, you’re not alone. All states have programs and laws in place to assist you.

Step 1

Leave the marital home before you file for divorce. Get to a safe place first so your husband can't retaliate. Do it when your husband is at work and you can be reasonably sure he won’t return home unexpectedly. If you don’t have family or friends who can help you and call the police in the event of a surprise altercation, call your local domestic violence shelter or the National Domestic Abuse Hotline at 800-799-SAFE. They can usually help you move out and give you a secure place to stay while you prepare to move forward. They can usually also help you find an attorney.

Step 2

Get a new cell phone, one that does not include your husband's name on the account. You’ll need it to be able to stay in touch with your attorney and those who are helping you. If your husband has access to your cell account, he can identify with whom you're speaking and possibly track you down. Some states have mail services for victims of domestic violence. You can sign up and use that address as your official mailing address, so you don’t risk your husband learning your current whereabouts. If such a service is available in your area, the domestic violence shelter can give you the contact information.

Divorce is never easy, but we can help. Learn More

Step 3

Go to your county courthouse or local police department and request a restraining order against your husband. Do this after you’ve moved to a safe place and have taken steps to conceal your whereabouts, or simultaneously when you leave. If your husband is likely to become enraged when he’s served with the restraining order or your divorce papers, you don’t want him to be able to find you and retaliate.

Step 4

File a request with the court for temporary spousal support, child support and custody while your divorce is in progress. In most states, you can do this at the same time you file your divorce complaint or petition. Restraining orders also sometimes include provisions for child support and custody.

Divorce is never easy, but we can help. Learn More
What Are the Steps to Divorce for an Abusive Marriage?

References

Resources

Related articles

What Can Happen if You Don't Have a Power of Attorney?

If you suddenly became unable to handle your own finances or make your own health care choices, a person you appointed in a power of attorney -- your agent -- could make decisions for you and take care of your financial affairs. Without a power of attorney, however, your family may have to go to court to obtain permission to manage these areas of your life when you are no longer able to.

What to Do If Your Husband Wants a Divorce But You Have No Where to Go?

If you’ve decided to file for divorce, you may want to move out of your marital home as soon as possible to get away from your spouse. However, if you can't afford to move and your husband refuses to leave, you still have options. Spouses who do not have the financial resources to move out can still get a divorce, and the court may help by ordering their husbands to pay spousal support or turn over the marital home to the wife.

What Do You Do With a Last Will & Testament After It Is Drawn Up?

Where you put your last will and testament for safekeeping until your loved ones need it depends a great deal on your personal circumstances. Some people find that leaving it with an attorney or some other professional works best. Some are comfortable with a family member retaining it. There are other options, as well, but whichever you choose, make sure that the executor you have named in your will knows where to locate it.

Get Divorced Online

Related articles

Who Gets Kids Before a Custody Hearing?

As long as you and your spouse are living together, you both have custody of your kids. Divorce may be on the horizon. ...

How to Place a Divorce Notice in a Newspaper

Although no law can force you to stay married to your spouse, he can make it difficult to divorce him if you can’t find ...

Is it Normal for the Sheriff to Come to the Home to Present the Divorce Papers?

A divorce can't move forward until the spouse who filed arranges to have the other spouse officially served with the ...

Things I Should Do Before Filing for Divorce

Chances are, if you’re about to file for divorce, you’re pretty sure you want one. But before you sign the papers, take ...

Browse by category
Ready to Begin? GET STARTED