Divorce often comes as a nasty surprise, with one person who has no idea their spouse intends to divorce suddenly facing legal service with divorce paperwork. For many couples, discussing the marriage and the potential for divorce before filing can be a way to minimize conflict and costs during the divorce process.
However, talking things out before you file isn’t always the right approach. If you have been the victim of physical or verbal abuse during your marriage, you may be safer in the long run if you choose not to tell your spouse before you file.
Your spouse could try to stop you from leaving
One of the most common criticisms victims of domestic violence face stems from not leaving the relationship soon enough. Many people who have never had to face intimate partner violence are quick to make statements about how they would leave immediately after someone became violent or abusive toward them.
Unfortunately, such attitudes don’t reflect the reality of domestic violence. Abusers often wait until their partner is emotionally or financially dependent on them to start behaving aggressively. Additionally, many abusive people become increasingly unstable when a partner attempts to leave them.
Bringing up the topic of divorce may result in intensified violence or even to your ex taking steps to reduce your ability to leave, such as stealing financial resources or threatening others, such as children or even your pets. By letting your spouse find out when you file, you can get yourself out of an unsafe situation without the risk of them taking action against you.
You may need to plan carefully to have someplace safe to go
Having time to plan can give you access to safe places to stay and even legal resources like a domestic violence order of protection that can reduce your risk of conflict after you file. Getting support during the planning stages can make it easier to leave and easier to stand up for yourself as you move forward with your divorce.