Since you and your ex-spouse know each other so intimately from your years together, you both know how to push each others' buttons. If this has recently gotten out of control and you are starting to live in fear of theft of your belongings or physical violence, then you will be happy to know that there are some things you can do to help ensure your safety and security during this tumultuous time in your life.
Here are some tips for staying safe and secure during your contested divorce process:
Minimize the Most Common Causes of Friction and Adversarial Behavior
Many of the most common things that divorcing people fight about are things that you can easily avoid by taking action before you leave. For example, when you leave you should take with you all of the following materials so that you will never need to ask your ex-spouse for copies:
your birth certificate and those of your children
copies of all financial records
copies of all employment information you have at home
copies of all insurance policies and bank account statements
The best place to store all of these items is in a safety deposit box at your local bank.
You should also change all of your passwords on your electronic devices and any websites you visit. This will eliminate your ex-spouse's ability to snoop into your current life and use any information that they find against you in your court case.
Report Domestic Violence to Law Enforcement to Create a Record of the Event
You should always report any events of domestic violence to your local police department. If you feel that you are in immediate danger, then you should call 911 for help. If you are not in immediate danger, you should contact the business number for your local police department and speak to the dispatcher about your issue. They can refer you to someone who can take a record of your phone call and take the appropriate actions.
Domestic violence includes all of the following behaviors:
physical abuse (hitting, kicking, pushing)
psychological abuse (isolation, threats, intimidation)
sexual abuse (rape, forced sexual behavior)
Finally, resources such as the National Domestic Violence Hotline (1-800-799-7233) can be lifesavers in a time of crisis or after an event has happened. You should never hesitate to call them and ask for help with your particular situation. They will be able to refer you to agencies in your local area that can assist you and help you stay safe.
For more information or assistance, talk to a lawyer like Baudler, Maus, Forman, Kritzer & Wagner, LLP.