Budget101 Discussion List Archives Budget101 Discussion List How to Survive an Abusive Spouse ~ perhaps OT

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      Not sure how the link to the article got stripped off but let’s try that


      How to Survive a Physically and Financially Abusive Husband

      Protect Yourself Physically and Financially

      By Angie Mohr, published Apr 26, 2008

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      I still have moments in my life, twenty years later, when my body instinctively

      reacts in illogical ways. I flinch when I hear glass break. I cannot put my

      whole face under the water in the shower. I jump and struggle not to scream when

      someone sneaks up behind me. It has been twenty years since I have had to heal a

      broken bone or hide ten dollars in my underwear drawer or cover a bruise with

      makeup. There are still reminders, physical and psychological, that will be

      there for another twenty years and another forty, but I am safe. Twenty years

      ago, an abusive boyfriend morphed into an abusive husband that modeled himself

      after his own rum-drenched father.

      It is difficult to nail down the real magnitude of the domestic abuse cancer

      that invades our society. There are statistics for reported abuse, yet most

      domestic abuse goes unreported. According to the Washington State Domestic

      Violence Fatality Review Project in 1999, women who have initiated a separation

      or divorce were the victims of half of all domestic abuse reports.

      If you’re in an abusive situation, you know that it can happen to any woman. It

      doesn’t mean you’re weak or you’re stupid. But when you’re finally ready to do

      something about it, there are some practical considerations to keep in mind.

      Knowing how to protect yourself in an abusive situation can help you escape it


      Before You Leave:

      Understand your financial situation

      If you are going to be able to survive on your own, you will need to get

      financially savvy quickly if you aren’t already. Make a list of everything that

      you own and you owe, both personally and with your spouse. List out account

      numbers, balances and any other information that will be important to be able to

      provide the bank or other financial institution later.

      Set up a personal bank account

      Open a bank account in your name only (preferably at a different bank than the

      one that you bank with now) in order to establish a banking relationship that

      does not include your spouse. Squirrel away some emergency money over time so

      that you will never be stranded without funds.

      Establish your own credit

      Setting up a bank account is a first step in establishing your own credit. The

      next step is to apply for a credit card in your name only, even if it has a

      small limit. Use it and pay it back frequently to build up credit history. This

      will help your overall credit history if your domestic partner decides to trash

      your joint credit.

      Take photocopies of all important documentation

      There is always the possibility that you will have to leave your spouse in a

      rush, so make sure ahead of time that you have copies of all critical

      information. This includes copies of income tax returns for both of you, birth

      certificates, marriage certificate, mortgage and house deed, all insurance

      policies and automobile registrations. If you have children, make copies of

      school records and immunizations. Open a safe deposit box at your new bank and

      store the photocopies in it. Also, keep an extra card for your new credit card

      account in your safe deposit box.

      Discuss your situation with a lawyer

      Know ahead of time what the legal repercussions will be of leaving your spouse.

      A lawyer will be able to walk you through the probabilities of what will happen

      to joint assets and liabilities. Also, if any further abuse occurs, your lawyer

      will be able to document it for police or other legal action.

      Learn self-defense

      If you live with a physically abusive spouse (and even if you don’t) it’s

      important to learn how to protect yourself. Take a self-defense course so that

      you can escape potentially dangerous situations or at least minimize the

      physical damage. Once you have taken the step of leaving your abusive spouse,

      the violence may escalate so knowing how to protect yourself will pay off.

      Do not tell anyone you are leaving

      You may want to share your plans with friends and family, but I highly recommend

      that you tell no one except your lawyer that you are planning on leaving until

      after it happens. There is always the possibility that information on your plans

      will leak out and reach your spouse and this could escalate the violence or, at

      the very least, thwart your preparations. The element of surprise will help you

      to successfully leave your spouse.

      When You Leave:

      Close all joint bank accounts and freeze credit accounts

      Immediately upon leaving, close or have your name removed from all accounts that

      you can that your spouse can drain of cash or run up credit on. Withdraw all

      cash balances and move them to your new bank account. Remove your name from all

      utility and telephone accounts. Keep a cell phone in your name only and put a

      password on that account so that your spouse cannot make changes to it.

      Ultimately, the lawyers will sort out who gets what but in the meantime, don’t

      leave you spouse the ability to harm you financially.

      Do not tell anyone where you are living

      For the first while after you leave your abusive spouse, do not tell friends and

      family where you are living (but definitely keep in touch with them and reassure

      them that you are alright). Your spouse may be looking for you and information

      has a way of slipping. Keeping yourself (and your children) physically safe is

      the most important task. Make sure your new residence is secure and has

      deadbolts on the doors and lockable windows. Install a security alarm if it

      doesn’t already have one.

      Discuss your situation with your local police department

      If you feel that your spouse will continue to threaten you, speak with your

      local police department. Although they will most likely not be able to do

      anything in the way of protecting you, letting them know ahead of time will help

      them put a case together if your spouse attempts to harm you in the future. They

      may also have more information on protecting yourself physically.

      Protect your children

      Discuss with your lawyer the possibility of getting an interim custody order for

      your children. Notify the schools that you have such an order and that the

      children are not to be released to anyone except yourself. Have it noted in your

      children’s school files that you and the police are to be contacted in the event

      that someone presents themselves at the school to pick them up or to see them.

      Protect your source of income

      Once you have successfully left your abusive spouse, he may attempt to damage or

      harm you in other ways if he cannot physically do so. One way to do that is to

      jeopardize your job. Let your boss know the situation and that you have left

      your spouse. Explain that if he calls or shows up, you will let the police

      handle it and that you will do your best to minimize any disruptions at work.

      You may find that your boss and co-workers are very supportive during this

      difficult time.

      Having the courage to leave an abusive spouse may be one of the most difficult

      and important things you ever do and being prepared ahead of time will help you

      to make it easier for you and your children.



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Budget101 Discussion List Archives Budget101 Discussion List How to Survive an Abusive Spouse ~ perhaps OT