Divorce and Domestic Violence: Safety First

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If your spouse is prone to outbursts of emotional or physical abuse, you have every reason to consider a divorce, and if you have made the difficult decision that the time has come to file, it is incredibly important that you proceed with caution. The fact is that divorce is stressful for the calmest of us, and if your spouse has already shown you what he or she is capable of, putting your own and your children’s safety first is paramount.

Have a Plan

Before filing your divorce papers, it is important to have a safety plan in place. Being served with divorce papers can be especially jarring – even if you know it is coming – and if your spouse has difficulty keeping his or her behaviors and reactions in check, you can expect fireworks. Many people fail to implement safety plans because they believe it amounts to drumming up drama when there may not be a need.

The truth is, however, that it is always better to be safe than sorry, and if you let everyone know – your spouse included – that you are simply attempting to defuse the situation, it can help to keep your safety plan as neutral as possible. In fact, your safety plan can be as simple as making plans to stay with a trusted friend or family member with your children until you make firmer plans.

Seek a Family Violence Protection Order

If your marriage involves a history of family violence, a family violence protective order may be your best option. The court is likely to issue such an order if both the following are true:

  • Family violence happened in the past. (Read more: Texas Family Violence: The Basics)

  • There is a clear and present danger that family violence will happen in the future.

Keep the Peace to the Best of Your Ability

Your spouse is abusive, and you and your children are obviously not responsible for this abuse in any way. Once you begin the divorce process, however, it is time for you to base every decision you make on you and your children’s safety. Often, this means allowing your divorce attorney to negotiate terms (on your behalf) with your spouse’s divorce attorney. You know what is most likely to set your soon-to-be-ex off, and steering clear – without losing sight of your financial and parental rights – is in your best interest. If your divorcing spouse is abusive, the best path forward is to follow your divorce attorney’s lead.

Reach out to an Experienced Divorce Attorney Today

Divorce is stressful enough, but if you are divorcing a spouse who is prone to abuse, it makes the situation that much more so – and that much more dangerous. Brett Pritchard at The Law Office of Brett H. Pritchard in Killeen, Texas, is a skilled divorce attorney who recognizes the delicate nature of your situation and who is committed to protecting your rights and your safety. To learn more, please do not hesitate to contact or call us at 254-501-4040 today.


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