How to Safely Divorce an Abusive Spouse

According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV), more than 10 million women and men are abused by an intimate partner in the United States every year. Only 34% of those injured by their partners receive medical care for their injuries. This is a massive problem across the country and not everyone always feels they are in a position where it is possible to leave an abusive spouse. However, there is a way to safely leave this dangerous and violent situation.

Prepare a Plan

Unlike a typical divorce, leaving an abusive spouse requires extra care and planning. Prior to beginning the divorce process, your attorney will need some paperwork relating to your marriage, such as family finances. Make copies of credit card bills, bank statements, or pay stubs, but be sure not to keep any copies at home for yourself. Instead, have a trusted friend or family member hold onto them if they are still necessary. You should also establish a way for others to contact you in a way that will not be known to your spouse, such as a disposable cell phone with prepaid minutes.

When choosing a lawyer, make sure you select one who has experience dealing with domestic violence issues. You need an attorney who is compassionate and familiar with the domestic violence laws in your state. If you do not have access to money to pay the necessary legal fees, you can contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE and they will put you in touch with an attorney in your area who can volunteer services or work out a payment plan with you.


Your attorney will be able to apply for a restraining order for you and, if granted, the judge will likely order your spouse to leave the home. Unfortunately, if your spouse presents a good case, a judge might advise you to leave instead. Ask your attorney’s advice on whether or not it would be better to move in with family or friends instead of remaining in the home. If you are in immediate danger, however, call the police so they can escort you to a shelter. If you have children, take them with you.

Once you are safely separated from your spouse, your lawyer will file for divorce and serve the papers. While many states require mediation as part of this process, your lawyer can wave this since the marriage was abusive. Never take a chance with representing yourself in this situation.

Domestic Violence & Family Law

If you are a victim of domestic violence, it is crucial that you take swift measures to protect yourself, physically and emotionally, as well as the well-being of your children. If you want to file for divorce, but fear for your safety, the lawyers at The Virga Law Firm, P.A. are here to safeguard both you and your children from danger. We will file a restraining order on your behalf to prevent your spouse from coming near you.

You deserve to live a life without fear. Our firm can help you get through this stressful experience, so you can move forward with your life. With more than 40 years of combined legal experience, you can feel confident in our abilities to effectively represent you and address your concerns.

Contact us today at (800) 822-5170 to schedule a consultation with a skilled and trusted member of our firm.

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