Breakups are tough, especially ones that end in the D word: divorce. In our content, we always try to encourage kindness and harmony between people and each other. But sometimes, that harmony is hard to keep or maintain, affecting both partners and ultimately children.
This article is created by Rosemary Lombardy, a financial advisor with over 35 years of experience. Lombardy is author of the new book, Breaking Bonds: How to Divorce an Abuser and Heal – A Survival Guide. Although her professional expertise is in financial matters, her perspective on marital abuse, divorce, and recovery is deeply heartfelt and holistic. She draws on decades of personal experience, as well as the experiences of others who have gone through similar situations.Everyone deserves to feel safe and secure in their relationships.
Being in an abusive marriage- whatever it’s kind, is not just a challenging experience for you but can also leave an everlasting impression on your children. It’s easier said than done, and we understand that leaving a difficult marriage can be as hard as in living in one. Things can get further complicated if you have children. But a well calculated move can make things easy for you and your family. She says: ” A good outcome when leaving an abusive marriage requires preparation and protection.” Her are her tips:
PREPARE TO LEAVE YOUR ABUSIVE PARTNER AHEAD OF TIME
Be prepared for your partner to take legal action. They are likely to drain joint bank accounts and hide financial assets once they become aware that you plan to divorce. Read the free brochure, Breaking Bonds 11 Step Prep Guide, that is available on the Breaking Bonds website and take necessary steps listed there before you file for divorce.
KEEP DETAILED RECORDS OF VERBAL ABUSE, PICTURES OF PHYSICAL ABUSE, HOSPITAL RECORDS, AND EMAILS
Keep well documented evidence of abuse and/or infidelity, or whatever that’s driving you to end the relationship in a safe place outside the home. Your partner is likely to destroy any evidence that they can find once they becomes aware that you are leaving them. Give a copy to your attorney and bring these records to any negotiation, mediation, or trial that you attend.
DON’T LEAVE YOUR CHILDREN WITH YOUR PARTNER IF YOU HAVE LEFT THE HOME
You may lose custody of your children if you leave them with your partner once you have left the home. The court may consider your leaving them behind to be abandonment or that you may be lying about the challenge in the relationship. Do not leave without them.
Do not leave without your children.
DON’T USE THE SAME ATTORNEY OR FINANCIAL ADVISOR AS YOUR PARTNER TO SAVE MONEY
Find an independent professional to represent your interests. Using the same one as your abuser, who may be sympathetic to him, may cost you a lot of money in the long run.
WHEN IT’S ALL SAID AND DONE, DON’T NEGOTIATE WITH YOUR ABUSER
Disengage. Your abusive relationship might try to wear you down through intimidation, protracted negotiations, and pointless arguments. This will only procrastinate. You may think you have finally reached an agreement with them, but most likely, they will not keep their word, anyway. Don’t let them waste precious time you need to spend elsewhere.
BE REALISTIC ABOUT WHAT YOU CAN EXPECT TO RECEIVE IN THE DIVORCE SETTLEMENT
It is unlikely that you will receive more than half of the marital assets. Get professional advice and be realistic about what you can expect to receive as your share of the assets so that you are not wasting time and driving up divorce costs. In most states, inherited assets and gifts are not part of the marital estate. If you signed a pre-nuptial agreement before you married, your lawyer will advise you as to your rights.
DON’T TAKE THE HOUSE IF YOU CAN’T AFFORD TO KEEP IT AFTER THE DIVORCE
If neither one of you wants the house, insist that the house be sold as part of the divorce agreement and that you split the proceeds. If you take the house, you will have to pay the expenses of maintaining it until it is sold and be at risk for a decline in housing prices. You will also have to pay the closing costs by yourself, which is patently unfair.
DON’T RELY ON YOUR ATTORNEY TO REMEMBER EVERY IMPORTANT DETAIL
He or she is busy with other clients. Keep a log of the expenses that you are to be reimbursed for in the divorce. Bring it to the negotiations. Request that credit cards and other debts such as car loans be paid off before the assets are distributed in the divorce. If you signed for a card or car loan, even if the divorce agreement requires your husband to pay the debt, you are still liable if he fails to pay it. Creditors do not care about the terms of a divorce agreement. You signed a binding contract with them, so you will still owe it. Don’t let his debts become your problem and affect your credit score.
BE PREPARED WHEN YOU GO TO MEDIATION AND TO COURT
Arrive ahead of time. Act respectfully with the judge, the mediator, or opposing counsel. Limit your answer to only the question being asked and stay calm. Bring a typewritten list of how you expect the assets and debts to be divided. Make sure that your lawyer is on the same page with you and has a copy of your proposed division of assets in hand.
READ THE FINE PRINT CAREFULLY BEFORE YOU SIGN THE DIVORCE AGREEMENT
Make sure that everything you discussed with your lawyer is in the document. If it is not in there, you won’t get it. Take responsibility for the outcome of your divorce. Protect yourself.
PRACTICE SELF-CARE TO STRENGTHEN YOUR RESERVES
You need to keep your wits about you for many months until the divorce is final, so eat properly, and get enough exercise and rest to be at your best. Take baths, listen to uplifting music, spend time with friends, meditate or pray. Do whatever you need to do to replenish your reserves when they become depleted.
If you do make a mistake, immediately forgive yourself , welcome difficult emotions and rectify it, if at all possible. If not, learn from it and let it go. You are human and will make mistakes.