How do you safely get out of an abusive marriage?

Ending a marriage is not easy for most Tennessee residents. The emotions involved even in an uncontested divorce can make this one of the most difficult times in a person's life. Unfortunately, ending a relationship can be a matter of life and death for many people who are victims of domestic violence.

The statistics surrounding familial abuse are heartbreaking. The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence reports that every minute across the country, almost 20 people are abused by spouses or intimate partners. This equals over 10 million adults every year - men as well as women. Most disturbingly, about one in every 15 children are exposed to domestic violence.

What are the signs of domestic abuse?

Recognizing abuse is not always easy. Abusers do not always physically harm their victims, although they may resort to physical assaults at any time. The behavior can also take the forms of sexual, financial, emotional or verbal abuse. Abusers may use a combination of intimidation, violence and psychological manipulation to control their victims. This is why it is often difficult for victims to leave their tormentors. It is also why it is important to break the cycle of abuse and protect children by seeking a custody plan that shields them from their abusers.

How is it possible to escape from an abusive relationship?

With abusers making it so difficult to leave, is leaving even possible? According to the National Domestic Violence Hotline, escape can be possible with help from a support system that includes trusted family or friends, abuse counselors and law enforcement. Victims of abuse should first come up with a plan to safely leave their abusers. Such a plan might include the following steps:

  • Tell a trusted person about the abuse and ask for their help or support.
  • Put aside emergency money, documents, clothing and other belongings in a place the abuser does not know about.
  • Document evidence of physical assaults and keep a journal of all instances of abuse.
  • Contact an abuse shelter or law enforcement for assistance.

A protective order may also be essential in helping victims escape. This court order is a document that restricts an abuser from trying to contact or go anywhere near the victims. It provides legal protection that may result in the abuser being arrested if he or she violates the order.

If you are attempting to leave an abusive partner, you may be reassured to learn that you do not have to be alone in your efforts. A Tennessee family law attorney with experience in domestic violence may be able to help you obtain a protective order and take other steps to protect your family and find peace.