Dealing with Domestic Abuse

Dealing with Domestic Abuse | Divorce Strategies NW

Domestic Abuse: Getting Out and Healing

Domestic Abuse takes on many forms. The ugly secrets often hide in the shadows and behind closed doors, but the lasting scars are real, for both adults and children. Understanding abuse and admitting you are a victim can be a daunting process predicated by shame and fear. The tremendous courage it takes to leave an abusive situation is validated with freedom. Freedom takes time, tenacity and support to achieve.

If you are managing a situation that is threatening, violent, or abusive, the process of divorce can be even more daunting to consider, fathom and endure. Change is scary— it can be overwhelming to know where or how to begin. Emotions, habits, and fear can take over, sending you back to the pattern of abuse. Our team can help you begin the process to escape this unhealthy cycle.

The fear of the unknown causes many people to stay in abusive situations. There are resources available for someone considering leaving and for those who are unsure of their options. We understand the fear, hurt and shame you may experience if your spouse has become threatening, abusive or violent during the process of divorce. In most cases, the abuse is not new but may become exacerbated when the relationship is changing.

A key reality to internalize is that nothing you do warrants abusive behavior of any kind.

The fear of retaliatory abuse can be overwhelming as you consider your personal safety today, tomorrow and in the future. If you have minor children to protect, your concern and anxieties are compounded, as you worry and wonder about what divorce will look like, with an abusive ex-spouse. We are sensitive to how painful and intensely private these issues can be, and we can relate to the conflicted feelings and angst you may have. Living with habitual abuse is unhealthy for everyone, even those around you (similar to how secondhand smoke affects someone who lives with a smoker).

A life of freedom awaits you— we can help!

Support and Guidance

Our team provides resources, experience, privacy and confidential leadership during this emotional time of uncertainty. Our team will help you understand your situation, assist you with requesting protection for you and your children, seek restraining order(s) (if needed), and carefully help you find the right support for you and your family. This can be a traumatic, intimidating process. You are valuable and we are here for you.

Seeking professional therapy is an essential part of understanding and healing from domestic abuse. We have researched and compiled a cadre of local resources focused on a variety of specialties, styles and costs. Most therapy is covered by health insurance, at least in part. Our network of local providers accepts a variety of health insurance, to help defray costs and maximize your healing. We work closely with our clients to find the professional support they need.

Legal Considerations

Domestic abuse often brings legal concerns into survivors’ lives. For the first time, an individual may need to figure out how to secure an order of protection, navigate child custody and divorce, understand criminal charges, property rights, or file legal motions. A survivor may be thinking only about an order of protection for themselves when they could also consider filing criminal charges, protecting child custody or property rights. Knowing where to start is overwhelming. 

Fear of the unknown forces many victims to stay in unhealthy situations for years. Talking with someone who understands and can provide a roadmap can make all the difference in the world. Many victims inherently know something is “not right” but are unsure about their options or what kind of support they need.

We can help.

Let us help you!

If you need help, please feel free to contact us. We will get back to you within one business day. If you prefer to talk, please feel free to call us.
Call : 425.329.6579

Email Us Mon–Fri 9 AM to 5 PM

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Dealing with Domestic Abuse | Divorce Strategies NW

When the Need Is Immediate

Domestic abuse is traumatic, emotional, and confusing. You may feel desperate to get out but fearful to leave. The decisions are complex, the future is uncertain, and the pain is real. When the dynamic begins to change at home, your partner’s abusive behavior may escalate and they may become “unhinged”. There are many options to support those managing an unpredictable and volatile situation. You are not alone!


The time of separation can be the most dangerous time for victims of domestic abuse. Separation assault occurs when your abuser learns they have lost control of you. There is key information that is important to know, as you work to safely extricate you and your children from an abusive environment. Be judicious and wise in your actions as you plan your escape.

  • If you feel afraid for your personal safety, or that of your children, 911 should be your first call— this includes verbal threats. There is no shame in contacting the police.

  • Make local law enforcement aware of your current situation. At a safe time, visit your local police precinct. Share with an officer the location of your home, describe your current situation, provide the history of violence and/or threats, physical description of your partner, vehicle(s) and any/all weapon(s)— details, current photos are helpful.

  • Try to minimize contact with your partner, via text, phone and in person. Ongoing communication incites increased tension, and provides opportunities for more abuse to occur. Refuse to engage… short, factual communication with no emotion is best– you are not responsible for their happiness.

  • Minimal contact regarding logistics should be the only reason for communication during this tenuous time. Written communication with your partner is far preferable to verbal, and email is preferable to texting, for a variety of reasons. Remember, keep your communications short and factual. 

  • If your partner has a history of abuse (emotional, psychological, verbal or physical), try not to be alone with them. If you have shared custody of minor children, try to have a friend, neighbor, or family member with you during times of transition. This takes advance planning, but can decrease the trauma on you and your family, as assaults (verbal or physical) are less likely to occur when an adult witness is present.
  • Quietly reach out to a small group of friends, neighbors and family. Explain to them your family’s current situation, so they can be alert and will notice if things are “off”. Ask them to check on you and your children and to be aware of anything unusual. This is an important part of your support network. 

Resources for acute support:
National resources for specific needs:

WA Listens is a statewide support program implemented due to the impacts of COVID-19. Anyone feeling stressed, anxious and/or lonely can call WA Listens at (833) 681-0211 to speak with a support specialist or visit https://www.walistens.org


Do not live in fear. Take charge of your life. You are not alone!

Personalized Strategy

We recognize that each divorce is different and carefully plan a custom strategy that is right for you and your situation, no matter what stage you are.


Our work together is sensitive, discreet and confidential, while we provide a customized, non-judgmental safe-haven keeping you focused and on task.

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