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please help! want to leave abusive husband

(22 Posts)
miserablelikethis Wed 25-May-16 17:54:39

I'm looking to get divorced from a controlling abusive husband and although I've been to a solicitor for a free hour, I was too afraid to bring up the abuse. Anyway I haven't said I want a divorce to my husband yet as am still getting all my ducks in order but is there such a thing as a solicitor who specialises in helping abused people get away from their abusive marriages? I was on the brink of going to a women's refuge the other day but I am so scared to admit what's happening before I am completely ready to leave because I have a toddler daughter and I don't want to be affected by anyone who might try to force us out immediately (ie saying I shouldn't be here in these circumstances) however I have got a plan in place should I have to get out straight away and I have got a counsellor who I talk to but she says that because I have no friends or family I need to make sure I have everything in place properly before I get out as long as I can stay safe. My husband is a gentle, quiet man in public and has an amazing job i just think people (including legal ones) are going to not believe me and the only evidence I have of the abuse is me writing incidents in my diary. Maybe if there are such things as solicitors to help me in my position I would go for that. We have high household income but I don't have access to any of it so I'm struggling to afford a solicitor but this also this means I can't get government help. Please help!

goddessofsmallthings Wed 25-May-16 18:25:24

Have you been in contact with Women's Aid and have they offered you a refuge placement?

How did you come by your counsellor? What is she suggesting you have "in place properly" before you leave and what does having no friends or family have to do with it?

There's no need whatsoever for you to tell your h that you want to divorce and it's best left to a solicitor to inform him after you and your dd are safely away from the marital home.

Are you willing to divulge details of the abuse you've sustained to a solicitor and/or dv workers?

RiceCrispieTreats Wed 25-May-16 19:26:34

is there such a thing as a solicitor who specialises in helping abused people get away from their abusive marriages?

Yes. I had one for my divorce. She was recommended by a legal advice service I get through work. If you're in the UK, give WA a call on 0808 2000 247 and see if they have recommendations for solicitors in your area who have dealt with such cases before.
My lawyer was worth her weight in gold. It made the process so much easier to have a pro dealing with exH's shit. I heart good lawyers as a result.

But be aware that a solicitor is NOT a counsellor or a psychologist. A good one will let you know your options, and then let you choose which one to go for. Their terrain is legal and factual, not emotional. It's actually a great way to make the process LESS emotionally fraught, to deal with it with a professional who only cares about the facts and legalities. Mine thankfully understood why I appeared like a weak and indecisive wreck at times, but our interactions were all business. She also was NOT impressed by exH's shenanigans, and understood they came from a place of domination and control, so she was ready to respond with the legalities that kept him at bay.

Ask WA for a recommendation. And while you're on the phone with them, see what they can tell you about refuges in case you do ever need to flee, as well as peer support groups, which are great for the feelings of emotional overwhelm.

You will get through this. Good luck.

AstrantiaMallow Wed 25-May-16 19:28:53

Can you show the solicitors you see a piece of paper with what goes on written on it if you don't feel able to talk about it. It's what I did. Giving the full picture helped me. You absolutely need a solicitor who has experience of DA/DV. I saw several before I decided on one. They can tell you if you can get legal aid or not, or how payment can be arranged too.

Contact WA as pp says. And do not tell your husband your plans.

miserablelikethis Wed 25-May-16 20:15:10

Thanks all, sorry just trying to get away from him as he likes to sit behind me when I'm on my phone (even if I'm leant against a wall!) my counsellor has said to contact my local women's refuge centre. I have all the details ready now. The other day things did get bad enough that I almost went through with that but I am so worried if I'm not set up I will have to return home with him and things will get worse. I will contact women's aid and see if they can help me. The citizens advice was so so bad for me. I early ok money in last tax year and I asked them to work out what I might be entitled to now that I no longer work (gave up work as couldn't cope plus wanted to make sure was always with daughter and not leave him with her) they worked out everything based on last years earnings effectively saying I won't get anything which I know won't be true for this tax year as I haven't worked since last year. They also told me I earned enough to not need benefits and plenty of people live on less than my wage (it's not huge and I took out £3.5k a year on train fare and worked13 hour days minimum full time) but if I have to rent privately and pay childcare alone it is unlikely I will be able to afford all of that so although I absolutely love working and miss it so much, right now I'm not sure it is an immediate option although I am still applying for jobs so that I can see if it might be a feasible plan.

fryingtoday Wed 25-May-16 20:42:28

Btw don't worry about the fact he's quiet and well liked. I remember on the ride with police to arrest my ex they asked if he would be charming - there are plenty well used to seeing this MO! Ditto with refuge and later down the line cafcass and lawyers. You'll be amazed how accurately they can sum up your partner.

miserablelikethis Wed 25-May-16 21:18:27

Thanks frying today it is worrying me, he is able to portray himself as a very gentle person when that is not the reality. He's very clever. I just hope I can achieve supervised access for my child as well as apparently that can be difficult to prove a need for.

fryingtoday Wed 25-May-16 21:29:55

You may find it tough. How he treats you may not be relevant - you'll have to concentrate on any harmful effects to your child. So eg if DC witnessed any abuse will be relevant. Make sure you make a note of such incidences. But as soon as you feel able to open up and speak to professionals my experience is they really do get where you are coming from.

fryingtoday Wed 25-May-16 21:33:52

One other thing - if he is ever physically abusive, go to the police. In my experience they are amazing and a conviction stops all talk of him being gentle etc

goddessofsmallthings Wed 25-May-16 21:42:52

Find your nearest Women's Aid service here and make contact with them tomorrow www.womensaid.org.uk/domestic-abuse-directory/ to discuss your situation and find out how long it may be before a refuge placement becomes available for you and your dd.

If you should need a refuge place urgently because your h is physically abusing you, or you are fearful that he will abuse you, you're best advised to call the police on 999 or simply leave the house with your dd, go to the nearest police station, and ask to speak to a police officer from your regional authority's domestic violence unit.

Don't worry if you should have to leave with nothing but your dd and the clothes you stand up in as the police can accompany you to the marital home so that you can collect your belongings together with items of value to you.

Did your counsellor advise you to collect documents such as birth certificates, passports etc for you and your dd and keep them in a safe place until you are able to leave?

SandyY2K Wed 25-May-16 21:54:09

Have you thought about secretly recording the abuse with a VAR (voice activated recorder) or with your phone?

I know you can get them from Amazon and it just looks like a USB stick. If he is able to check your online purchases then don't risk it.

miserablelikethis Wed 25-May-16 22:55:35

Hi thanks, my problem with sound recording things is that by the time the incident happens I am in full blown rescue mode. The other day when he was off on one I had been in the middle of doing my bra up failed to do that quick enough before he lost it with daughter so just ran to get to her and haven't got time to properly record things. It's too much to hide anything around the house, he finds everything! He reads my emails, checks my spending comes up behind me when using my phone. Also when he has a full blown losing it incident he calms down for weeks on end ie to 'behave' and tell me it was just a surprise moment. There is no physical evidence. I will contact woman's aid tomorrow and thank you for the link. I am terrified he will have sole access to her if I split. It's part of why I have stayed.

miserablelikethis Wed 25-May-16 22:57:00

Collecting important documents is something I hadn't thought of so thank you for that too.

AstrantiaMallow Wed 25-May-16 23:02:52

Don't worry about recording, it could put you at risk if he finds out. Low profile sounds best for now.

Contact WA. Keep trying if you can't get through first time round.

Yes, collect paperwork, passports and put them in a safe place. flowers

goddessofsmallthings Wed 25-May-16 23:07:45

Who is this counsellor you're seeing and what has she told you to have "in place properly" before you leave?

Women's Aid can help you leave safely and you're best advised not to worry about your h's access to, or contact with, your dd until you are in a refuge where you'll be given all the help you need to start rebuilding your life.

miserablelikethis Wed 25-May-16 23:34:00

The refuge sounds like what I need. The counsellor is a qualified counsellor with experience of domestic abuse. I stopped eating with all the stress and got sick so my husband agreed to counselling to 'help' me get better but now just says things like 'you're not well enough to work so don't apply for jobs, it's why you're in counselling remember' but I'm so lucky I am in it as it's helped me a lot. However sometimes I don't understand the counsellors opinion and I would like to run away but she has said that with her experience in domestic violence cases is that I have to do and say the right things and not just run away. I don't understand how women's refuge work and if I could hide away it would be good I just don't understand things like will I still be able to divorce and get half of everything to set up a new life without extra problems. He's standing a little bit away from me now demanding I go to bed. It is very hard to live this way but I just want to make sure I make the right moves and not end up in a worse position in the long run.

goddessofsmallthings Thu 26-May-16 01:00:36

How long does this counsellor who is allegedly experienced in domestic abuse abuse, but hasn't told you to collect all important documents, expect you to "do and say the right things" for? As long as your h is paying her to counsel you? hmm

For the safety of yourself and other residents you will be required to undertake not to reveal the address of the refuge you are placed in, which may be some considerable distance from your current home, to any other person including your h.

If you make arrangements with WA to leave while your h is at work the police will be told that you and dd are safe and this is the only information your h will be given if he should report you missing.

Refuge workers will help you apply for benefits to meet the cost of your stay and will arrange all necessary appointments such as meetings with solicitors etc.

As refuge placements are not time limited you'll be able to "hide away" until all matters pertaining to divorce have been resolved, including financial arrangements, and you're able to set up home alone with your dd. Assuming that you'll be the primary carer for your dd, you may be entitled to more than half of the marital assets but in any event you should receive 50% of your h's pension provision.

I find it alarming that your h 'lost it' with your dd and, as it's in her best interests that you move to a place of safety asap, I would suggest you make sure that WA are aware that she is in urgent need of protection from him.

Given all of the help and support that will be available to you in a refuge placement, I have no doubt that you will find yourself in a far better position than you are now and your only regret will be that you didn't make contact with WA sooner.

SandyY2K Thu 26-May-16 01:06:13

Poor you. How terrible that he treats you and the children this way.

I'm sure a solicitor will be able to advise you on what marital assets.

Do you know things like account details and where he banks? In case he tries to hide money? As well as other assets like shares or anything.

If you can do so take pictures of account numbers and records and keep in a safe place.

You can disguise account numbers as phone numbers in your contacts on your phone. You can download an app on Android phones and store important info there with a password. It's called colour notes and can be used for shopping lists and day to day stuff.
Are your children old enough to speak about his behaviour to the relevant authorities if required regarding supervised visits?

miserablelikethis Thu 26-May-16 07:09:00

Hi thanks. No my daughter is nearly three but still calls after him and misses him when he's gone as she doesn't understand everything. It's all making me feel sick with worry.
I agree about counsellor and things like not getting documents together, it doesn't look good and it's something that would represent experience that she says she has so I am more sceptical now. Although I don't have access to it, I know the joint account numbers etc I wouldn't know how much is in there. He opens and hides my post so there was never much point in requesting access as he would just stop it. My main scare is evidence and him being able to control me even once I leave. I wouldn't say where I was but I also am so scared at what he might do. I feel so stupid. I was a career woman and had a lot going for me but now I feel like I've hit rock bottom. And am just existing. I know I owe it to my daughter to get myself together it's just facing up to it. I am able to earn money eventually and get on my own two feet its just getting away right now whilst I'm unemployed. I am applying for jobs now but I have no idea if I will earn enough to live and pay childcare until I actually get a job as salaries are varied in my field and there's no guarantee after a gap I'll even earn what I did since last year. Also my solicitor told me I'm better off not working full time to prove I'm main carer for daughter. The thing that scares me more than anything is his entitlement to see daughter unsupervised once I leave. He cannot be allowed that. Of course I want my daughter to know him but he can't be trusted to be alone as she pushes him because she's young and doesn't understand when he's getting angry and he loses his temper . Perhaps one day he will be a good dad but right now that's not possible. I will phone the women's refuge and see what to do. I would get out this minute if I knew he won't have unsupervised access to daughter in the future.

fryingtoday Thu 26-May-16 22:22:16

If you have made a note of instances when he has lost it with your daughter then I doubt he would be given unsupervised access. Regarding recording, if you are able to get something - even the aftermath - it would help to blow away the idea he is a gentle man. I used my iPhone to record!aftermath of my assault. As there were no physical signs I have no doubt the sound of him still raging and threatening (with my DC in the room) was a game changer in terms of police and later cafcass believing he is abusive.

miserablelikethis Thu 26-May-16 23:28:47

Sooo I am kindve of excited because I managed to pretend I was playing with my phone while laying on sofa & he was other end of sofa distracted playing a game on iPad and I spoke to him about most recent incident while I videod him on my phone. What he said shocked me but I finally feel this is what I needed. I feel absolutely awful for doing it but I felt it had to happen and an opportunity came about. He basically says what he did was ok and that our daughter is fine now. He shows no emotion at all and just sat there calmly saying well it's one of those things she was really naughty that night and unfortunately he said he's done it before and I said on the video are you talking about when I'm in the house and he said yes this is not true and it's one of his many games he plays to make me believe I am going crazy. It's not acceptable and I feel so much better even though I know this is just the start. I will never leave my daughter alone with him again unless I am forced to legally. Thanks all.

uhoh2016 Fri 27-May-16 08:55:41

You can go into your bank with ID and withdraw half allof what's in your joint account, your both entitled to withdraw the whole amount out your account at any time. Pack a bag take the money and run

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