Most marriages start off as loving relationships. Many will continue on that way, but some will shift toward abuse. The abuse doesn't always happen suddenly, and it's not always physical. In some cases, the relationship turns emotionally abusive and controlling before the person starts the physical abuse.
If you're not being abused and can safely stay where you are, you have a little time to get things ready to leave. Just remember that at the first sign of danger, you should be prepared to leave the home.
Save some cash or have a credit card handy
You need to save some money or have a credit card that you can use for immediate expenses when you leave. A little cash plus money in a bank account might be useful. These should be in your name only so your soon-to-be-ex doesn't have access to the information. If you must, ask a trusted friend or relative to hold onto your money until you're ready to leave.
Gather up all important documents
If possible, try to get your birth certificate, as well as the birth certificate for any child you're bringing with you when you leave. Immunization records are also important. You may even want to make a copy or take a picture of the most recent bank, investment, retirement accounts, credit card, mortgage, and vehicle loan statements. These can come in handy during the divorce.
Anyone who's in an abusive marriage should leave right away if they're in physical danger — even without preparation. Once you're safe, you can work on filing for divorce. This might feel like a big step, but it severs the ties between you and your abuser. Work with someone who's familiar with divorces that have an element of abuse so you can find out what options you have to remain safe. Your safety has to be a priority during this process.
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