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Divorce and domestic violence: Best strategies

by | Jun 21, 2013 | Domestic Violence, Firm News |

For California couples who are involved in an abusive or controlling marriage, it may feel as if there is no way to emerge from the relationship and start anew. In many cases, the abused spouse has come to accept a role of diminished power within the marriage, and feelings of hopelessness and despair are deeply ingrained. However, there are strategies that can be employed to ease the path to divorce when a marriage is plagued by controlling behavior or domestic violence, and it is possible to move forward beyond one’s current circumstances.


One thing to anticipate when approaching a divorce from a controlling partner is a continuation or even ramping up of negative behaviors. Upon news of the plan to leave the marriage, the spouse may attempt to freeze access to joint bank accounts or other family assets. It is also not uncommon to be subjected to overwhelming pressure to remain in the relationship or postpone filing for divorce. However, once the decision to leave has been made, the best course of action is to take positive steps toward that goal.

The first course of action is to begin saving money as aggressively as possible. It is important to have one’s funds held in a bank account which no other party can access. In addition, there are a wide range of documents needed to proceed through a divorce process. Collect as many of these items as possible while still in the home, and make copies that can be securely stored elsewhere until they are needed.


Another way to minimize the turmoil of ending an abusive marriage is to get the matter before a California judge as quickly as possible. Once the legal process has begun, the court will control much of the timing, and the other party will be less able to manipulate the situation to his or her advantage. It is also important to mention that for spouses who are experiencing acts of domestic violence, it is imperative to leave at once, and to gain a restraining order, if necessary.


Source:, “Divorcing a Bully, Protecting Your Finances,” Elizabeth MacBride, June 18, 2013


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