Last Updated on
One of society’s best-kept secrets is the prevalence of abusive relationships. Many abusers are very good at hiding their abuse in public. Many abused people take steps to hide the abuse from their coworkers, friends, and family members. If you’ve decided to leave an abusive relationship, know that you’re making one of the most courageous decisions of your life.
Ending any relationship comes with potential emotional difficulties. These are multiplied tenfold when abuse is a factor. You should be most concerned with keeping yourself safe. This is the number one priority. One of the other things you might be worried about is how to retrieve your belongings. You may be worried that your partner will not allow you to leave the house or physically harm you. This is especially true for people who left their homes to save their own lives.
If you believe there is a threat to your safety, you shouldn’t go back to the residence alone. You might need to bring your family, friends, or law enforcement officials with you.
Understanding Your Rights
You should become familiar with the legal rights and protections offered to you. You have the right to be physically protected. You also have the right to keep your own property.
Different states all have slightly different laws. The definition of “personal property” will vary depending on where you live. When your relationship ends, you should make an effort to bring as many things with you as possible as you leave.
If it’s not possible to bring things with you, you do have other potential methods to get the items returned. When this is the case, it’s important to have legal counsel assist you. You need to make sure your method of retrieval is both safe and legal.
It’s hard to avoid acting based on emotion when you’re dealing with your ex, especially an abusive one. One advantage of an attorney is that they don’t have the same emotional involvement. They can review the facts of the case and explain your options to help provide some clarity.
Order of Protection
A lawyer can make a request that you be given an Order of Protection. This legal document, sometimes called a restraining order, helps to limit the abusive party’s activity. It also offers you protection should the abuser violate the terms outlined.
The exact terms included in the order of protection will be different depending on a number of factors. A judge will take into consideration whether you have children, how much time you spent with your ex, your financial situation, and any previously filed police reports.
If your ex damages, destroys, or sells any of your property, the lawyer can help you seek compensation.
Accompaniment by Law Enforcement
One option you have is asking for a police officer to come with you when you retrieve your belongings. Going alone can open you to a dangerous situation. You may face physical and verbal abuse. Oftentimes, a police officer’s presence alone is enough to keep the abuser from acting out.
You have a legal right to request an officer’s accompaniment. When you ask the police department to help you, you should provide whatever paper trail you have proving the abuse. Things like old texts and emails are invaluable. You want to provide as many provable facts as you can.
The police officer’s job is to schedule an appropriate time to help you get your items. All involved parties need to be involved in the scheduling. This is oftentimes the easiest way to get your belongings without conflict.
Ask Your Family and Friends
Many of your family members and friends don’t have an emotional standing with your ex. It’s possible that your ex will let one of these people come to your house to get your belongings. If your ex agrees, you should give your friend or family member a detailed list explaining everything you want returned.
Don’t call your ex about the situation. Instead, have the other person talk to your ex to schedule a time. If your ex won’t let the third party come to the house, you may file a case against them through your jurisdiction’s civil court.
The main goal is to make sure you obtain your things within the boundaries outlined by the law. If you have to file divorce papers, file for a separation, or make child custody arrangements, your attorney can help you after you’re settled somewhere safe. Your safety is what matters most