Trying to leave an abusive relationship is a frightening endeavor. You are probably acutely aware of how easy it could be to provoke a violent partner in your attempt to exit the relationship. You may also worry about them stalking you after you leave, including turning up at your place of employment or harassing your immediate family members.
There are thousands of families affected by spousal abuse and domestic violence in Alabama, so there are thankfully already rules in place to help those enduring abuse or afraid of escalating abuse when they attempt to leave a relationship. How do you secure a protective order or restraining order?
Secure documentation of abuse
For some people, proving that they have experienced abuse will be easy. Their neighbors have called the cops repeatedly when their partner turns violent and things get loud or there are medical records of severe injuries that the spouse or children in the family suffered.
Other times, there may be very little official evidence, sometimes because the victim has gone to great lengths to cover for the abuser. Your best chance of success when requesting a restraining order or protective order comes from having evidence to support your claims.
You may start documenting the abuse you experience by keeping a private Journal, photographing injuries, photographing damage to your property and taking screenshots of threatening messages. Such records will help you prove to a court that you have reason to fear for your safety if you leave the relationship.
Recognize that you may not be your own best advocate
Although you may be able to secure a short-term or temporary order without involving the other party, a long-term protective order will require a hearing.
The person who has abused you will have an opportunity to defend themselves, and they may intentionally try to provoke you and make you emotional in court. Whether they try to intimidate you or anger you, their actions could lead to outbursts that hurt your chances of success. Many individuals attempting to leave a situation involving domestic violence will have the best chance of success when they have a professional advocating for them in court, including when they seek a protective order.
Bringing in professional help and taking the time to document the abuse as you plan to leave will increase your chances of securing a restraining order barring future misconduct and contact.