What to do when...
What to do once you decide to leave your partner
- Above all, you should be aware that when violence is not nipped in the bud it has a tendency to escalate.
- If your partner physically assaults you, go to the doctor and ask for a medical report about the extent of your injuries. This confirmation will be one of your most important pieces of evidence in the event of a criminal proceeding.
- Figure out where you can turn for aid (specialized centers, counseling centers, crisis facilities, municipal child welfare departments, your own parents, your good friends).
- Pay very watchful attention to whom you choose to confide in regarding your plans to leave your partner and the place of your future residence. Someone might inform your partner of your plans. Do not confide in just anyone.
- Give careful consideration to what you will tell your children about your plans to leave. The basic consideration for what to tell them should be their age. Do not criticize their other parent in front of them.
- Appreciate yourself and do not feel ashamed of where your fate has led you so far. You are not responsible for anyone else’s behavior.
- Remember that it is better to be alone for some time than to live with someone violent.
- Keep in mind that once you have left you will have a chance at creating a good relationship with someone else.
What do do once you decide to divorce
- It is better to get all of your important documents out of your home. This concerns, in particular, any lease or purchase agreements for your home or any other real estate. Take your birth certificate, marriage certificate and the birth certificates of your children with you.
- If you and your spouse have children together, file a motion for preliminary custody of your children until the divorce comes through. Work with the child welfare department of your local authority or municipality.
- Definitely make sure you do not forget your passport and your children’s passports. If your spouse has your children registered in her or his passport, inform the passport department of the fact that you are divorcing.
- Block any common accounts. If you cannot do this by yourself, then open an account just in your name and deposit your money there.
- Instruct your local post office to send all of the mail coming to your home address to your work address instead, or open a P.O. Box and have your mail sent there.
- Do not allow yourself to play spiteful games with your spouse.
- Do not involve either your parents or your partner’s parents in your dispute. Do, however, let them know (writing them a letter is the best way) that your divorce does not mean they will lose their grandchildren.
When you leave your violent parnter do not forget to take the following with you:
- Your personal identification, your birth certificate and the birth certificates of your children;
- Your children’s medical and school records;
- Your money, bank records, insurance records, savings records, credit cards;
- Documents that can prove your ownership of common assets (e.g., a purchase contract, a lease contract, a usage contract for housing);
- Personal items, your children’s favorite toys;
- Medicines for you and your children;
- An address book with basic addresses and business cards.
Do not leave without your children unless your life is being directly, immediately threatened.
Do you still have unanswered questions?
Ask experts in the fields of law, psychology and social work for advice.