It can be extremely difficult to leave an abusive marriage, whether your spouse is physically or emotionally abusive. You may have tried many times to leave, only to be pulled right back into the abuse. At the Law Office of Stephen W. Penn, we understand the struggle you and other Californians are going through when attempting to escape domestic violence or emotional and verbal abuse.
Why is it so difficult to escape a situation like this? Abusers are masters at keeping their victims under their control. Your spouse may intimidate or physically harm you if you step out of line, or manipulate you with guilt tactics or apologies, but start the abuse anew as soon as he or she feels you are back under control. To leave an abuser, you will need to regain the control you have lost and enlist the help of allies to keep your tormentor from reaching you.
The National Domestic Violence Hotline explains that obtaining a protective order can be a vital step in your fight to end an abusive marriage. This is a document ordered by the court that grants you temporary custody of your children and prevents your abuser from contacting or going near you or your children while the order is in effect. After the protective order is issued, you will be assigned a hearing date to tell your side of the story to the judge, after which a longer-lasting protective order may be issued. A protective order does not guarantee safety, but violating the order can have criminal consequences for your abuser.
As our page on restraining orders explains, when you are escaping domestic violence, you will need to seek help from law enforcement and others you can trust.