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What to ask when getting free legal advice before leaving an abusive relationship?

(3 Posts)
CorydonFrills Mon 16-Nov-15 11:14:52

My friend is getting ready to leave her abusive partner. I'm so proud of her - this has been years in the coming and it's taken her a lot of courage to start making concrete plans (when we met, she was in the "maybe he'll change" stage).

I'm going with her to a meeting this week to get some free legal advice. We're in Australia but I imagine the general types of questions wouldn't be too different from UK, so I'm hoping to get some help preparing for the meeting.

So far on our list we have:

- if her car is in his name is she entitled to keep it after a divorce?
- She would like to stay in the family home with the 3 children. .. Can she force him to leave? Can she force a sale? What if he refuses to leave?
- he has threatened to take the kids from her - what are the chances of him getting custody when she is a SAHM? What measures can she take to prevent him taking the children to his home country and not returning?
- he put shares in her name and made her sign something but she has no idea how to access them. .. He may have other financial stuff hidden, how can she find out all this stuff?

Any other questions you suggest we ask? I'm not sure how much time we'll have, maybe 30 minutes or an hour.

MidnightVelvetthe4th Mon 16-Nov-15 13:01:12

Well done to your friend! And well done to you for giving her such support smile

I'd be asking:

-About child maintenance
- About his child access (if the nature of the abuse is likely to be directed at the children, are there any places that allow him supervised access that's not in his own home)
- All joint assets, not just the car, what happens to them
- Will she have to pay for the divorce

Also the basic stuff, she needs a bank account in her own name, it would be a good idea to document all the instances of abuse she can remember with dates & times if possible & if any were reported to the police or officially in any way. If she thinks the children are at risk of harm then talk to the school or nursery about him not picking them up without authorisation from her.

CorydonFrills Mon 16-Nov-15 20:15:08

Oh that's brilliant Midnight, exactly what I was hoping for. I didn't even think about paying for the divorce. No idea how that works. .. In Australia you have to be separated for a year before divorcing so we hadn't thought that far ahead!

There's no physical violence towards her, so it took a long time for her to accept that what was happening was abuse.

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