Domestic violence victims and their children can be confronted by the threat of physical and/or mental abuse at any given moment. It’s for that reason that anyone considering leaving an abusive marriage should take specific steps to help ensure their safety, as well as the safety of any children involved. Provided below are a few helpful tips for domestic violence victims considering divorce in the state of Illinois.
The first and most important step of pursuing divorce that victims of domestic violence can take is securing the physical safety of them and their children. That is why womenslaw.org emphasizes the importance developing an exit plan. Removing oneself from the home environment is crucial to prohibiting any further abuse from occurring. Beyond that, establishing a new place of residence can give domestic abuse victims the opportunity to consider their options and move forward with divorce proceedings safely.
There are a number of items and factors that should be taken into consideration when developing one’s exit plan. First off, people are encouraged to be prepared to leave the home quickly in the event that there is a threat of violence. Having an emergency bag already packed allows for an immediate exit from an unsafe environment. Some of the items that should be present in the emergency bag include but are not limited to:
- personal credit cards
- legal documents (including Social Security cards, birth certificates, and medical records)
When the time comes to leave, domestic violence victims often have the option of requesting a police escort to help ensure their safety. It is also recommended that victims of domestic abuse obtain orders of protection before or upon engaging in divorce litigation. According to the Illinois Attorney General, an order of protection can serve several purposes for domestic violence victims and their children.
Given that every domestic situation is unique, abuse victims are encouraged to seek community and legal services that can help them before, during and after the divorce process.