Protect yourself if you plan to leave an abusive marriage

On Behalf of | Jun 2, 2020 | Domestic Violence |

Being in an abusive relationship can mean needing to daily make decisions about what is safest for you, as well as any children that you might share with your spouse. Leaving can be one of the most dangerous times for those who experience domestic violence, so it is only natural that the thought of divorce might make you feel panicky and frightened.

Thankfully, the law in Florida recognizes how much bravery it takes to leave an abusive relationship and how much risk someone has when doing so. It is possible for people to seek restraining orders, also known as an injunction for protection against domestic violence, from the courts in order to create accountability for an abusive partner during a divorce.

What do you need to request an order of protection?

Generally speaking, you need to have a credible fear for your own safety and some kind of documentation that validates your claims of abuse in order to convince the courts to intervene. Threatening voicemails, emails, text messages or social media comments are just one example of evidence that could help support your claim for a protective order.

Medical documentation, your personal journal detailing the abuse, testimony from friends, family or counselors, and police records of domestic violence calls to your house can all help substantiate your claims and convince the courts to intercede and protect you.

You must commit to filing a report if your ex violates the order

When someone violates an order of protection, the police can arrest them. The more times someone violates the order and the more aggressive or threatening they become toward the other party, the greater the potential consequences they may face.

As someone to likely loved or may still care about their spouse and abuser, you may not like the idea of causing hardship or legal complications for your ex. However, if you don’t take steps to enforce the order, you leave yourself and any children you have in a vulnerable position.

Contacting law enforcement when your ex violates the order will document a pattern of behavior and potentially protect you from future violence. It can also help you take further steps to protect yourself, including requesting an extension of your injunction when it expires.