If you are leaving your spouse because of their out-of-control substance abuse problem, then it is important that you plan well to ensure your personal safety during this contentious time. Since substance abuse adds a higher likelihood of physical abuse during the initial days after your separation, it is necessary to take several steps to ensure that you keep yourself out of preventable dangerous situations.
Since you and your spouse have a long history together and know how to push each other's buttons, making a clean break is necessary for your own personal safety when moving forward. To this end, here are some time-tested tips for doing so in a safe manner:
Secure Housing in a Secret Location
Since you cannot rely on your spouse to be sober and behave in a logical manner, you need to put a space barrier between the two of you that they cannot breach. The easiest way to accomplish this is to secure yourself a place to stay in a secret location. By preventing your soon-to-be ex-spouse from knowing where you will be living, you can feel much more relaxed and safe while you are at home. By not sharing your new address with friends and family for a while, you can limit the number of people who know where you live and might let this information slip to your spouse.
Gather All of Your Important Documents and Store Them Outside of Your Home
In the weeks before you leave your home, take the time to secure all of your important documents and store them outside of your home. Some of the documents that you will need to start your life over alone include:
- your birth certificate
- your Social Security card
- a copy of your past tax returns
- copies of all of your bills
- the title to any car you own
You should take these documents to your bank and open a safety deposit box in which to store them. This is the safest place to store important documents while you are in this transitional period of your life.
Leave at an Unexpected Time
Finally, for your own safety, you should plan to leave at a time when your spouse is at work or otherwise gone from your marital home for an extended period of time. Leaving while they are out of the house will ensure that there is no domestic violence and give you a head start so that your spouse will not be able to locate you while they are angry over your having left them.
For more information, contact local professionals like those found at Knollmeyer Law Office.