Abusive Spouse? Here Are Tips To Protect Your Family
Did you know that one-third of all families in homeless shelters in New York City are there as a result of domestic violence? Statistics also suggest that one in every four women will be the victim of domestic violence and three million men are the victim of physical assault every year. If you are in an abusive marriage, your first priority should be to get yourself and your children to safety. It is, however, normal to wonder what legal options you have, as no one should have to go to a homeless shelter or start over with nothing because their spouse is abusive.
Get Your Family To Safety First
The legal side of things can wait. The first thing you need to do is get you and your children to safety when they are under threat of harm. The law will be on your side once you leave and get yourself to safety. The main time to consider talking to a lawyer is when there is a court order stopping you from taking the children. You don't want to leave them there alone, so you will need to go through legal processes to make sure they can leave with you and remain safe. There are times that your rights to the property may be affected by leaving. If you can realistically keep your family safe within the house, then do that and speak to a divorce attorney. If not, the most important thing is safety.
File Criminal Charges
There are various laws your spouse could be breaking during the abuse. It is perfectly reasonable to file criminal charges against your spouse, making it clear that you are in an abusive relationship. This could give you the time in the house to sort out the legal steps to make sure you don't lose the home or the equity from it.
It may also be possible to get civil court orders in place to keep you and your family safe. Consider restraining orders and temporary custody orders for your children and against property to keep those close to you safe.
If you can prove that abuse is happening or there is the threat of abuse, you could even legally kick your spouse out of the home. There are emergency and non-emergency options available.
If you do have time to plan and get things in order, it will set you up financially when you leave. It can also help you legally. However, safety is the most important thing to consider in an abusive relationship. Get yourself and your children to safety and then work your way back. Once you have the safety of yourself and your children situated, you can reach out to criminal defense attorneys about what to do next.