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Preparing to Leave an Abusive Relationship

Posted on August 8, 2022

Being trapped in an abusive relationship can happen to anyone and, sadly, happen all-too-often. In 2019, 221 Floridians were killed by domestic violence and more than 105,000 domestic violence incidents were reported to the Florida police[1]. Moreover, the National Domestic Violence Hotline, a resource that provides support for victims of domestic violence, reported that more than 12,000 abuse survivors in Florida alone contacted the hotline in 2019 for help due to emotional, physical, economic, digital or sexual abuse[2]. If you are in an abusive relationship, it’s important to carefully strategize and plan your exit to maximize your chances of success and maintain your own personal safety and that of your children. Following are some tips to keep in mind as you plan your exit:

  • Set up a P.O. box in your name only so you can receive legal and financial documents without your abuser’s knowledge.
  • Set up your own checking account and safety deposit box at a bank different from you and your spouse’s current bank. Even if you are married, you can set up your own bank account without your spouse’s approval.  Make copies of all important documents and store them in the safety deposit box. Your documents can include birth certificates, social security cards, bank statements, tax returns, financial statements, and the deed to your home. Also store any heirlooms, jewelry, or other valuables.
  • Make a copy of your car keys and hide them in case your partner takes your keys away from you.
  • Purchase and hide a prepaid cell phone to prevent your abuser from tracing your calls when you contact your attorney, a shelter, or others helping you escape.
  • Plan where you will stay after you leave. If you don’t have friends or family that you feel could provide a safe shelter, contact a women’s shelter.
  • Meet with a family law attorney, like Troy Legal, to discuss the specifics of your situation and learn your rights. Many women stay in abusive relationships because they are afraid of losing custody of their children or not being able to support themselves financially. A family law attorney can advise you on the best approach to maintain your timesharing rights and secure the financial assets that are rightfully yours.

A good resource to help you plan your exit is the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE or TheHotline.org. They are staffed 24/7 with professionals who can help you develop a safety plan. Leaving an abusive relationship is hard and scary, but it is absolutely possible and better days will eventually be ahead.

Troy Legal, P.A. was founded in 2009 and serves clients throughout South Florida. Troy Legal, P.A., specializes in Marital and Family Law, providing reputable legal services for prenuptial and co-habitation agreements, paternity cases, adoption matters, alimony and child support, time sharing and parenting plans, drafting of qualified domestic relations orders (qdros), mediation services, equitable distributions, collaborative law, post-judgement modification and enforcement, domestic violence cases, and dissolution of marriage or divorce.  Troy Legal, P.A. is dedicated to serving clients through compassionate and aggressive representation, while upholding the highest degree of ethical standards.


[1] National Coalition Against Domestic Violence. ncadv_florida_fact_sheet_2020.pdf (speakcdn.com). Accessed July 1, 2022.

[2] National Domestic Violence HImpact and State Reports – The Hotlineotline. Florida State Report. Based on data from January – December 2019. Accessed at: Impact and State Reports – The Hotline. Accessed July 2, 2022.

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Troy Legal, P.A. was founded in 2009 and serves clients throughout South Florida. Troy Legal, P.A., is dedicated to serving clients through compassionate and aggressive representation, while upholding the highest degree of ethical standards.

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