Deciding to leave an abusive relationship is nothing short of terrifying. The days immediately after you leave can be some of the most perilous in terms of your risk for violence. You may have felt safer maintaining the status quo with your spouse, at least until they turned their temper against your children.
For many people, seeing their children suffer the same abuse they have long endured is what finally prompts them to leave behind a partner that mistreats them. Unfortunately, divorce can potentially mean sharing custody with an abusive ex.
You may not want to leave your children alone with someone you know has anger issues or a history of physical violence. There are resources available to you to protect you and the children when you leave an abusive marriage.
A temporary restraining order can give you temporary custody of the children
Domestic violence can quickly escalate and produce life-altering or even fatal injuries. Children can be particularly vulnerable to severe injuries because of their smaller size. Getting a restraining order will mean that you at least have temporary protection from your ex.
A restraining order can also mean that your children won’t be alone with their other parent until you have a chance to go to court. You could even have support in asking your ex to leave the marital home until the courts resolve your divorce.
You will typically need some degree of evidence, whether you have pictures of physical injuries, medical records or police reports. Statements by you and the children can also help secure a restraining order that will make it easier for you to transition out of an abusive marriage.
You could face pushback from your ex as the divorce proceeds
Documenting the treatment you’ve experienced and trying to make all decisions based on what is best for the children will help protect your parental rights during a contentious divorce. Some spouses will go so far as to claim that abuse allegations are entirely false and an attempt at parental alienation.
Careful communication and a willingness to comply with court rulings will help you defend against those kinds of claims by a manipulative and abusive spouse. You will likely need help building a legal case and fighting for the safety and protection of both you and your children during this difficult time.