Women that have suffered through an abusive relationship have to do all the same things that any woman going through a divorce would need to do. The only difference is that each step is made more difficult by the looming presence of an abusive spouse.
It's often the case that women in abusive relationships have no access to money, no financial documents, no clue of how much money exists in the accounts or how many accounts there even are. They may not have a credit card or checking account in their own name and may be used to accounting for every penny they spend. In such relationships there are many more opportunities for the husband to hide assets as questioning is not permitted.
If you feel that you are trapped in an abusive relationship, there are steps you can take to begin to secure your finances and prepare for an exit. If it can be done safely, you should consider the following bits of advice:
- Get a post office box so you can receive your mail securely.
- Open a bank account in your own name and start putting away money. If it's possible, transfer your assets into a separate account and make sure your paycheck is direct deposited into your account rather than the joint one.
- Try to remove your name from debt so you can avoid having to pay for any debt incurred after you leave.
- Keep copies of your important paperwork, including bank statements, marriage certificates, social security numbers, etc. It's likely a good idea to have a safe place outside of the home to store such documents.
- Obtain a credit card so you have access to money if you find yourself cut off from your husband.
- Open a new, private email account that you can use to securely communicate with an attorney and other divorce professionals. You can even use Kinkos or a public library to access the account if you're worried that your home computer is not safe.
- Change any PIN's that are yours to a number that would not be easily guessed by your spouse.
- If at all possible, avoid signing any documents handed to you by your husband.
- Finally, and most important, make arrangements with family or friends for you and your children to move out of the house at a safe time.
If you're suffering from abuse then you need to seek help not only for yourself but for your children. There are many support groups and agencies that can help you create a plan to stay safe and move on to a better future. If you find yourself facing the prospect of a separation or divorce, and you need advice from a trusted family law attorney, contact our experienced South Carolina family law attorney today.
Source: “Divorce Advice For Physically And Financially Abused Women,” by Jeff Landers, published at Forbes.com.