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Leaving an Abusive Relationship

When someone is in an abusive relationship, the idea of leaving can be even scarier than the idea of staying with an abuser. Victims may fear that their abusers will come after them if they leave, or worse, they will come after the victim's friends and families. When abuse is introduced into a relationship, it is very unlikely that it will go away and victims should seek any help that they can to get away from their abusers as quickly as possible.

If you know someone who is in an abusive relationship, they may or may not realize what is happening, and it may be difficult for them to get away. Do what you can to be supportive, and if the abused person is hiding signs of abuse, it may be in their best interest to contact the authorities.

Sometimes domestic abuse victims do not leave their abusers because they do not know what to do. DomesticViolence.org answers two common questions that domestic abuse victims have when considering leaving:

  1. Can I take my children with me when I leave?
    • If you can get them out safely, then yes, take your children away from the abusive home;
    • As soon as possible, seek legal assistance to get custody of your children;
    • If you cannot get your children out of the abusive home safely, getting custody may be more challenging. The parent with physical possession often has an upper hand in getting temporary legal custody;
    • If you succeed in getting your children out and getting custody, do not put it past your partner to try to steal them back. He or she may do this by kidnapping, threatening, or harming the children so that you will return them;
    • If you believe that you are in immediate danger and you cannot get your children out of the abusive home, contact police to arrange temporary protective custody during the process of gaining permanent custody.
  2. Where do I go?
    • Stay at a friend's or a relative's home.
    • If you are a woman, avoid staying with any men who are not relatives. This could impair your chances of getting custody of your children in court and even getting spousal support. In addition, it may cause more conflict with your abuser by creating jealousy.
    • There are many battered women's shelters that will take you and your children in. Staff at these shelters can help you with legal and financial concerns, along with emotional support and counseling for both you and your children.
    • If you feel that you still have nowhere to go, call 911 to start.

If you have been abused and have left or are thinking about leaving an abusive relationship, contact a family law attorney for assistance. Attorneys at Roscich & Martel Law Firm in Illinois can help you with custody and your entire divorce hearing if you contact them today.

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