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Divorcing from an Abusive Spouse: What You Need to Know

In and of itself, divorce is not a pleasant subject to discuss. Even if you believe that it is the right thing to do for you and your family, most people do not enjoy talking about getting a divorce. It is more or less a subject that we 10/2 discuss only when necessary and only in certain situations. Otherwise, divorces R some of the least enjoyable topics to discuss with anyone. Many people do what they can To make it through a divorce without even sharing essential pieces of information with their children and family members. This does not mean that you or any other person is trying to be secretive about the divorce it is more or less a reflection of how unpleasant divorce can end up being.

An unfortunate component of some divorces is domestic violence and the role it can play in a divorce case. Domestic violence impacts more families than we probably care to imagine across our country. It has been reported that the pandemic has increased the rate of domestic violence across the country. Job loss, uncertainty regarding our health, simply being nearby 2 our family is more often than not as well as problems in our relationships have likely led to these increased reports of domestic violence. Couple the stresses of a divorce and you have a potentially combustible situation. If you or someone you know are going through a situation involving domestic violence then today's blog post from the law office of Brian Fagan is for you.

What is especially troubling about domestic violence in households is how these acts typically impact not only the victim and the perpetrator but also the extended family including children, grandparents, relatives, and close family friends. All of these people are impacted if you are used by your spouse. There can be a tremendous amount of pressure on you to try and make the relationship work and not get a divorce. The pressure to keep the family intact can be what tremendous amount of pressure for you and your family. Meanwhile, you may be feeling the effects of the unfortunate reality that your marriage is failing and you are suffering mentally and physically as a result.

Another aspect of the domestic violence equation for you to bear in mind is that frequent basis it is not just a spouse who becomes the victim of domestic violence. Rather, we see that problems with domestic violence often spread to children of a marriage as well. If being concerned with their physical well-being wasn't enough, he may be put into a situation where you now have to be concerned with the well-being of your children in terms of their being victims of abuse.

Rather than continued to be the victim of domestic abuse, you can take the situation into your own hands and do something about it. That's not to say that a decision will be easy to make but the choice to exit a failing marriage and to protect yourself and your children can be among the most important that you make in your entire life. The thing you have to ask yourself is what steps are you willing to take that may not be the most pleasant but in the long run, will benefit you in your family the most? That is what the beginning stages of a divorce and specifically the period immediately before you file for divorce are for.

You are capable of caring for yourself and your children

Abusers rely on the assumption that their victims will not take the necessary steps to prevent future incidents of abuse. Unfortunately, many people in your position believe that they are not able to do anything to stop the abuse that they are receiving. Whether that is because they are financially reliant dependent upon their spouse or because going through the steps of a legal case seemed to be tedious and extremely complicated, the reality that people in your position face is that there is oftentimes a self-imposed barrier to taking the necessary steps to protect themselves and their families. 

If you face a situation where your spouse is becoming violent towards you then you do not have to take it and do nothing. The first step that you should take is to become familiar with local law enforcement. Whether that is a Police Department, Sheriff's Office, or constables department you need to be ready to contact law enforcement in the event of an abusive situation. Rather than doing nothing, you should take advantage of the opportunity presented to you and contact law enforcement to begin the process of protecting yourself and your children.

Law enforcement can ensure that, at the very least, you and your children can leave you're home safely. From there, you can go to a relative or even a close friend's home to avoid your abusive spouse. We are fortunate in Southeast Texas to have resources available to us where you can contact someone In your area to find a place where you can stay with your family. Control is a huge part of why an abusive spouse engages in the behavior that they do. Understanding this puts you in a better position to be able to control your life and your circumstances as best as possible. By the same token, you need to make sure that you are kept safe during this time because abusive spouses like yours will oftentimes seek retribution for you doing these things.

I would caution you about taking these steps without having first spoken with an experienced family law attorney. You should take whatever steps you believe are necessary at the moment to keep yourself and your family safe. I would never recommend that you do anything that you think will be contrary to the most important goal of keeping your family safe. However, when it comes to positioning yourself with the divorce case in mind having the experience and know-how of an attorney by your side can be extremely helpful and advantageous for you and your family.

Your decision to leave the family home has consequences for you and your family. This is not to say that a court would believe that you have an unfounded position in terms of wanting to leave the family home if you have been abused. However, if you choose to leave the house in a court believes you do not have a very good reason to do so that could impact custody determinations for your children as well as your ability to receive your house in a contested divorce. Also bear in mind that a divorce can be a fairly long process. Some divorces can take up to a year to finish, if not longer. This would mean an extended period that you would not be able to have access to your home. If at all possible, you should have a plan in place when it comes to leaving the house.

, for example, having a set of clothes packed for yourself and your children would be wise. Having a literal escape route from your home it's also something very reasonable and smart to have in place. You should be careful not to position yourself or your children in a place with knives or other dangerous objects that can be used as weapons against you. Rather, you should have a plan to stay in a common area of the home where you can access a vehicle readily. Having gas in the car is a good plan as well the last thing you want to do is attempt to leave the home only to find that your vehicle is out of gas.

The bottom line is that you may want to consider remaining in your house as long as possible up until the point that your spouse becomes violent. It would be foolish to stay in your house with a violent spouse for any reason. Being in a better position 2 retain custody of your children or even to be able to receive a more favorable outcome when it comes to a split of your child custody situation is not worth it. Otherwise, consider remaining in the house as long as it is safe for you to do so. This will allow you to meet with and receive some advice from an attorney to better position yourself both for child custody and property division reasons.

 Can an abusive spouse be charged with a crime?

You are also able to make a criminal complaint against your spouse to seek their removal from your home. Criminal trespassing, stalking, harassing phone calls, sexual assault, and other similar offenses are the beginnings of what you're spouse could be charged with. While a family law attorney Guides you through the divorce process, you should contact local law enforcement who can help keep you safe by arresting your spouse to prevent teacher incidents of abuse. While you cannot be the 1/2 file any kind of charges yourself against your spouse you can contact law enforcement and allow them to work with their attorney's office and a District Attorney can proceed with bringing charges against your spouse.

What can you do through the civil courts to protect yourself and hold your spouse accountable for their actions?

For your divorce, you can seek out protective orders, temporary restraining orders, and ultimately temporary orders to keep you and your family safe. It is a common practice in just about every Texas County for there to be temporary orders set up in your case. Those temporary orders will do their best to make sure that you and your spouse can get along reasonably well throughout your case. An example of this would be to seek an expert protective order or temporary order where you could have a hearing held on an emergency basis without your spouse present. If granted, this order would be in place long enough to keep you safe but would still be a relatively short period as you were spouse would have a right to defend themselves in court and provide a context of their own.

Find that you can file for divorce on your own without an attorney. Terrific resources like Texas lawhelp.org R ready to assist you with filing an original divorce petition, learning the significance of what a citation is as well as figuring out how to draft the necessary documents. Filing a divorce in Harris County or any other county in Southeast Texas does cost money but you can always seek To have those filing fees another court costs waived if you cannot forward to pay them.

What can a protective order do for you? 

As we just talked about, a protective order is limited in terms of what it can contain and how long it can be in effect. Many protective orders last up to two years in time but can be extended or shortened by the motion of either you or your spouse. Local law enforcement close to where you live will also be issued any protective order so that they are aware of this order being in place if your spouse elects to commit a crime. In a typical protective order, there are requirements that mod enforcement takes certain actions against your spouse if they violate any terms of the protective order or any criminal laws. 

The bottom line is that people just like you take matters into their own hands daily because they understand that there lies and that other child are worth feeling a little bit uncomfortable for or doing things that they will believe are unsavory. You should focus on those areas of your life that are most important to you and your family and disregard any negative words or actions expressed by your spouse.

Do you have a place to stay if you do need to leave your home? Some of you may be blessed with large families or extended families and friends where you and your family can stay for a short period after leaving your house. On the other hand, if you do not have a support group to lean on during this time this would be a great opportunity for you to begin that journey. Bear in mind that while the law will do as much as it can to help keep your family safe, there are limits to the links that can go through in that regard. With that said, having a shelter to stay in or a place to go where you are safe is very very important

Next, I would recommend performing a basic inventory of your property before it is too late. By this I mean, that you should go through each room in your home and begin to keep track of the contents of each room, closet, drawer of the house. As we have already discussed you may not be able to regain access to the house once your case starts. While you cannot necessarily anticipate the future perfectly the reality is that you can take steps to prevent your property from being removed from the house without your permission.

The sense of having your freedom, mobility, and safety put in jeopardy can be a lot to consider for you and your family. However, this is not an excuse for only focusing on this area of the case once your divorce begins. Rather, once you have positioned yourself in a safe place you can begin to focus on the other areas of the case that we had just walked through. Child custody is one area of your case that is directly related to the abuse that you have been receiving. It is very likely that if the abuse is substantiated in court that your spouse and Co-parent will suffer in terms of not being able to have as much time with the kids as you do. Another consideration is that your Co-parent will not be able to engage in unsupervised custody of your children for some time due to their abusive behavior. 

This is all the more reason for you to take fast action against your abusive spouse in not wait idly by. It can be overwhelming two half two ask for a protective order, temporary restraining order, or temporary orders against your spouse and Co-parent. However, you should hold them accountable than allow your spouse to continue to abuse you or your children. You will never be to blame your year spouse is abusive actions but you can control your life no matter how out of control you may feel. 

Questions about the material contained in today's blog post? Contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan

If you have any questions about the material contained in today's blog post please do not hesitate to contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan. Our licensed family law attorneys offer free of charge consultation six days a week in person, over the phone, and via video. These consultations are a great way for you to learn more about the world of Texas family law as well as about how your family circumstances may be impacted by the filing of a divorce or child custody case.

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