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Creating An Effective Exit Strategy For Divorce

Creating An Effective Exit Strategy For Divorce

Jun 10, 2024 | Divorce

Divorce is a decision that is painful even in the best of circumstances. However, the worst circumstances can have you fearing for your safety and stability. When you are concerned about the worst possible outcome before you can even initiate the first steps of your divorce, how can you stand strong in your decision and execute it to the best of your abilities?

The divorce lawyers of Lunn Law, LLC, have helped their clients through some of the toughest periods of their lives and have achieved divorce settlements that made huge differences in their journeys. We understand the complications that can arise from trying to initiate such a huge change, and we are here to offer advice on how to keep yourself safe and secure.

Why Do I Need An Exit Strategy?

If you decide that you want a divorce and you anticipate that your spouse will be opposed, an exit strategy can help eliminate any barriers or sabotage that they might try to throw your way. An exit strategy will also keep you from floundering since you have already sufficiently planned for any complications you might encounter.

An exit strategy is of particular importance if you are in an abusive relationship or your partner is very controlling. The steps below will help you extricate yourself on your own terms and safeguard your wellbeing. The advice in this blog applies broadly, so always consider the particulars of your situation and make decisions that are right for you and your safety.

If you are located in Georgia and you are experiencing abuse or need someone to help you develop an exit strategy specifically tailored to you, you can reach out to the Georgia Coalition Against Domestic Violence on their website or at 1-800-33HAVEN.

#1: Document Your Marriage And Assets

The first step you can take when creating your exit strategy is to document, document, document. Write down the facts of your marriage and daily life, including incidents and conversations that have driven you to choose divorce. If you are being abused or suspect infidelity, make particular note of those instances. This documentation should be kept somewhere private that you are certain will not be found by your spouse, be it on your phone, computer, or in a handwritten journal.

In addition to documenting your life, you should document your marital assets and their worth, including the value of your home, vehicles, electronics, and even pets. Make note if they are shared assets acquired during the marriage or if you or your partner owned them prior to the marriage.

#2: Create A Go-Bag

Pack a bag of your essentials, including toiletries, a change of clothes, chargers, and other important personal items. Make sure you have cash and/or bank cards on hand as well! Keep your go-bag hidden but within easy reach in case you need to leave quickly. If you have children and anticipate leaving with them, pack their bags with at least a few changes of clothes. What you should pack will ultimately be dictated by how long you anticipate being away from home and where, which you should also plan in advance.

If you worry about this bag being found, you can keep it in the trunk of your car or at a friend’s house or even in a separate storage unit.

#3: Gather Your Personal Documents

Something you should always have on hand are your personal documents, such as your social security card, your ID, passport, bank cards, healthcare card, and other such items. If you have children, you should also have access to their documents. You will want to keep these items somewhere safe where they cannot be stolen and where you can access them easily in case you need to make a quick escape. If possible, keep them in a locked box or a separate storage unit.

#4: Get Your Finances In Order

If you and your spouse share finances, you will want to untangle them as soon as possible. Set up a bank account for yourself if you don’t already have one and, if you feel safe doing so, start making some deposits in your separate account. If you are employed, ensure that your paycheck is deposited in your individual account.

Money might be lean for the immediate future, so calculate a budget for the next several months and stick to it strictly. Avoid taking on any new debt on your own or with your spouse.

#5: Set Up A Storage Unit And P.O. Box

This step might not be necessary if you do not anticipate leaving your place of residence or if you have someone, such a parent or friend, with whom you can store your belongings and receive your mail. However, if you do not have these options, you can do yourself a favor by renting out a storage unit and setting up a P.O. box, which will ensure that no one can tamper with your personal items.

#6: Seek Support

If you have people in your life who you can trust, reach out to them and let them know what is happening. A friend or family member can offer moral support, if not physical support–if there is someone in your family who can be there when you are worried about confrontation, the presence of another person can potentially curb the risk of a physical altercation.

If you do not have such people in your life, a therapist or even your lawyer can give you some level of solace and offer suggestions for how you can proceed while still protecting yourself.

#7: Find Somewhere To Stay

If you do not anticipate moving out of your home or strongly desire to be awarded the marital residence, you can skip this step. However, if you do not feel safe remaining at home, you will want to secure a place to stay, whether it’s a new apartment, on the couch at a friend’s house, back in with mom or dad, or at a dedicated shelter.

As a side note, if you share pets with your spouse and you fear that they might retaliate by hurting your animals, you will also want to seek appropriate accommodations for your furry loved ones, whether that’s with you, at a friend’s, or at a pet resort.

#8: Speak With Your Lawyer

This is not necessarily the last step in your escape plan, but it is an essential one. You will want to contact your lawyer when you have made the resolution to divorce, and you can learn from your lawyer further measures you can take for your safety and how to give yourself an advantage during the divorce process. Your lawyer will be interested in any documentation you have gathered that supports your reasons for divorce, and you can forward that information to them.

#9: Tell Your Spouse

Only act on this step when you have your escape plan finalized, you have the cooperation of your lawyer, and you have all your necessary safety measures in place. If you fear retaliation in any form, you can speak to your spouse in a public place, such as a restaurant, have a friend or family member present during the discussion, or let them know via a letter, phone call, or text. Your lawyer can help you tailor this step, so be sure to speak with someone you trust and who has your best interest at heart.

Contact Lunn Law, LLC For All Your Divorce Needs

The divorce lawyers at Lunn Law have your back. We offer effective and compassionate divorce service and take pride in our ability to address the divorce needs that are particular to you. Reach out to schedule an initial case assessment and we will review how we can help you overcome this hurdle so that you can move on to the next phase of your life.