Ways domestic violence victims can protect themselves in divorce

On Behalf of | Feb 7, 2024 | DIVORCE - Domestic Violence |

Divorcing an abusive spouse is a brave and important step towards reclaiming your life. This challenging transition can pave the way for healing and new beginnings. However, before you can completely sever ties with your soon-to-be ex-spouse, you must go through the divorce process.

Here are some strategies to ensure your safety and protection during this period.

Secure a support network

During this challenging time, it’s essential to surround yourself with people who care about you. Don’t hesitate to lean on trusted family members for support. If you feel safe and comfortable, also consider reaching out to reliable friends. It’s natural to want to isolate yourself when dealing with such a personal matter, but remember that facing such a tough time alone can be difficult. So, embrace the support of your loved ones.

You’re not alone in this journey. There are people in your life willing to lend a hand if you let them.

Keep communication through attorneys

In a divorce, particularly one involving domestic violence, direct communication with your spouse could potentially lead to harm or manipulation. To avoid this risk, keep communications with your spouse through your attorneys. This approach prevents unnecessary stress and confines your interactions to a structured and neutral environment. Plus, it ensures all discussions are officially documented, which could serve as crucial court evidence later on.

By maintaining this boundary, you’re protecting yourself and maintaining a safe distance from your abuser.

Obtain a restraining order

If you already have a restraining order, you can proceed with the divorce process. If not, it may be worth considering. A restraining order is often a first step for many domestic violence victims, as this legal measure provides immediate protection by creating a legally enforceable barrier between you and your abusive spouse.

In New Jersey, for example, you can request for one at your local Family Division of the Superior Court. The court will require evidence of the abuse, which could include:

  • Photographs
  • Text messages
  • Emails
  • Medical reports
  • Witness statements

Once granted, the restraining order can prevent your abuser from making any form of contact with you. Violations of this can result in criminal charges, providing you with another layer of security.

Path to healing

This is your journey towards reclaiming your life. While it may seem daunting, you are not alone. There are resources and support available to help you navigate this challenging time.