When you speak to law enforcement let them know whether there are any weapons in the house (not a good idea if you have an abusive person anywhere on the premises), or other weapons. If you can, while the process is moving forward, remove all weapons from the house and store them somewhere else, so that they are inaccessible to the abuser. This information will also be helpful especially when the writ of divorce is delivered by the court.
Want to know more about a narcissistic relationship? Read 4 Hidden Truths of an Emotionally Abusive Relationship
If you haven’t already, it’s time to hire an attorney. No one can better advise you of your legal options than an attorney, whose likely deal with this type of relationship before, and can best formulate your petition for divorce. If you cannot afford one, you might be able to find one to do a case pro-bono, or on some type of payment plan, but without one it’s much harder, and leaves you in legal jeopardy.
Remember to bring all your evidence of abuse to the attorney, and pick a day for the appointment that you know your absence will be unnoticed by the abuser. Unless you know there is an immediate threat, leave the children at home, at school, a friend’s house, or with a trusted family member. Children can be very traumatized by divorce and until you can talk with them, they don’t need to know all the specifics now, even if they know abuse is taking place.
Once the attorney is hired and you are moving forward with the divorce, it’s time for the notification to be delivered. Again, no one knows the abuser like you do and how they will react once they know you’ve decided to leave them. At this point, you should move at extreme caution. This cannot be overstated. During my career, I witnessed more than a few cases where the violence escalated once the paper is delivered.
Normally the writ of divorce will be delivered by a court office (process server), or better the local sheriff. A process server has the same authority, but in some cases is not a police officer, but the police can assist in this area by the court – or process server’s office – requesting they be present with the process deliverer when the writ is served. If you know the abuser will react violently make sure you are in a safe, and secure location with friends, family, when this happens. DON’T BE AT HOME WITH THE ABUSER! If the abuser is handed the writ for divorce at their place of work, or other location, make sure you are not at home when they arrive after work.
Again, this is only if you think they will react violently when they arrive home.
For the duration of the divorce proceedings, you should leave the abuser and go NO CONTACT. Speak only through legal counsel. During the process, the abuser may want to sweet talk you and try to hoover you back into the relationship. Don’t fall for it. Let the attorneys be the moderators. If the abuser hasn’t been abusive towards the children – if any – your legal counsel may sort that out and advise you to leave them with the mother. UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES should you make an effort to remove the children on your own without letting her know. A good attorney will advise you of this as well. You don’t want to appear on the bad side of this process, and remember, the abuser is skilled at turning anything you do into a “crime” and using it against you.
Therefore, such an action will only play out to your detriment. If you feel that the children are in immediate danger, or if she may leave to some unknown location and take the children with her to halt the proceedings, have your attorney petition the court for temporary custody, restraining orders, etc., until the court decides the case. However, in NO CASE take the law into your own hands.