No one likes being in an abusive relationship, and it is entirely legal to get out of such a relationship. However, it can result in an assault charge against the victim in some situations. What should you do if this has happened to you?
Once law enforcement arrives at your door, you may be frightened for your situation and current freedom. You will not go immediately to jail when you are arrested for domestic violence. However, you have been charged with a crime and must appear before a judge.
If you were only defending yourself against your abusive partner, you might have a strong case. You must seek help from a criminal defense attorney immediately. Here are other ways to cope with the situation.
Option #1 Consider Filing for Divorce
Speak to a family lawyer about filing for divorce. You may also want to seek emergency child custody or emergency restraining orders. This way, you can provide for yourself and your children during this time of distress.
Although this may be a tough decision, it can protect you and your children. If you choose to stay in the relationship, your spouse may hold this over your head and continue to abuse you. Plus, this could be the best time to get out of your abusive household.
Don’t wait until your spouse has you arrested again for simply defending yourself. They may be more violent and unforgiving the second time around. So, while you may be re-evaluating your safety, now is the time to look into getting a divorce.
Option #2 Seek Protective Orders
Seek legal protection as soon as possible with protective orders. This ensures that your abusive partner will not initiate contact with you or your children. If they violate this order, the court will take action and press additional charges against them. This is usually enough to keep them away.
But if your spouse is nonviolent, you may decide that this protective order isn’t necessary. On the other hand, if the abuser has a record of violence, you may want to request that the court-issued protective order remains in place. It will provide you with peace of mind and additional protection.
Of course, this is a decision you will have to make. It is crucial to weigh the benefits and consequences of filing for protective orders. If your spouse has no violent history, you may want to request help from other sources. Some people recommend seeking the help of women’s shelters if your spouse is unwilling to seek counseling.
Option #3 Talk to a Friend or Family Member
If you don’t have strong social support, now is the time to build one. Spend more time with your friends or family. Take some time to relax and get away from your stressful situation so that you can have a fresh perspective.
When seeking friends or family to spend time with, make sure you choose reliable people. You will want to avoid getting involved in gossip or negative conversations about your spouse. It can be very discouraging and may even cause you to revoke the protective order, which could put you at risk of harm. Instead of surrounding yourself with this negativity, reach out to positive people.
Having a solid social support system can help you through this tough time. You won’t feel so alone or afraid, which can help protect you from believing that your spouse is all you have. It may be hard to leave someone you love, but it is vital to prioritize your safety.
Option #4 Consider Seeking Professional Help
Spend some time looking for a family psychologist or other professional counselor. You may feel embarrassed about the situation, but it is essential to take care of your mental health. A professional will give you a judgment-free zone to talk about your experiences and hopefully guide you out of this difficult time.
It may be hard to tell a psychologist about the abuse. But if you can trust them, they can help guide you through this difficult time. Of course, this isn’t always an option for everyone. Some people choose not to seek help because they feel they can manage the stress independently. But if you can find someone to talk to, it will make your situation easier to handle.
When speaking to a professional, don’t hold back any details. This may be the only time you will have to talk freely with someone, so take advantage of it. You don’t want to regret holding back in the future, which can keep you in harmful situations.
Although the best option for you may be filing for divorce, seeking protective orders, or talking to a friend, family member, or professional — you are the only one who can decide what is best for your situation. So, don’t lose hope; there are ways to get through this difficult time. If you need help, don’t be afraid to ask for it.