When you’re in an abusive relationship, you may finally realize that you have to get out and begin the process for a divorce. It might take time for you to do this as you plan how to exit the situation and seek support through protective or peace orders.
Domestic violence does affect millions of American households. It’s believed that an average of 20 people are physically abused by their partners each minute in the United States. That works out to around 10 million men and women suffering from abuse every year, according to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence. In around 19% of those cases, the violence involves a weapon.
Having domestic violence occur in the home can change the way you approach your divorce. There are risks that you have to be aware of, and you may need to be more alert. You can seek peace or protective orders for issues such as stalking or threats of violence if your spouse continues to pursue action against you despite filing for divorce.
How does domestic violence change a divorce?
Unfortunately, the control and power the other spouse wants to use over the victim can continue despite a divorce in progress. They may refuse to agree to the terms of the divorce or may take steps to drag out the divorce and cost the other party all their savings. They may do anything that will strain the other party, making it hard for the divorce to be finalized.
One of the biggest issues is serving divorce papers. Sometimes, those who are abusive flee the area or refuse to give an address. When they can’t be found, it becomes much more difficult to move forward with divorce and serve the appropriate documents.
What can you do to make divorce easier after a situation involving domestic violence?
To start with, make sure you find a safe place to live, whether its with relatives, at a domestic violence shelter or another area. This will reduce the likelihood of trouble happening involving your estranged spouse. Next, be straightforward with your attorney about what happened and bring any documentation you have. If you cannot find your spouse, the court may be able to help. There is a chance that you could seek an exception granted by a judge if you’re unable to find your spouse after strong efforts to do so.
Your attorney will walk you through the steps of your divorce, so you can be prepared for what’s to come.