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Things to Do Before Calling it Quits with an Abuser

There are many types and forms of domestic abuse. It may be physical, emotional, legal, financial, or a combination of some or all of these types. Domestic abuse is a criminal pattern of undue coercion, control and power of one person over another in a relationship. It is simply any form of threatening and alarming behaviors against the victim.

The behavior of abusers develops through their childhood. They started to think that their ways are normal because they learned it at an early stage of their lives. Therefore, changing the same has a low probability, if not impossible. In reality, abusers continue their destructive behavior, even after divorce. They do harmful acts against any person, including their own children.

A lot of fear, pain, and traumatic experiences are some of the results of being in an abusive relationship. The only way out is to cut ties and this is through divorce. However, this must be done carefully. The things below are some of the few things to consider before filing for divorce.

Quit couples counseling

The counseling will just keep failing and more importantly, it will just provide valuable information to your abuser that he/she can use against you in the future.

Do not tell your abuser that you are considering a divorce

This may result to a more dangerous behavior on the abuser’s part that will cost you and your children’s safety.

Seek help

Seek trauma treatment therapy right away with a licensed clinical social worker who is trained in domestic abuse cases

Also ask for help from your local domestic abuse center or the National Hotline for domestic abuse by calling from a safe phone line that the abuser cannot trace.

If you have children and you fear for their safety as well as yours, call 911 and contact your legal counsel immediately.

Get a lawyer

Have a good and empathic lawyer who is willing to bring the history of domestic abuse into the case

Do not seek the services of a lawyer who does not want to do so or reasons that this is not relevant because of the “No Fault” divorce in Texas.

Inform others

Inform your loved ones, friends, your employer, etc., that you are experiencing domestic abuse because of your spouse and that you plan on leaving soon and may ask for their help

This is the most difficult thing to do, but also the most important. Sweeping all abuses under the rug for the sake of the children, reputation and the belief that things will get better will just end up into a cycle that will never end.

Secure a restraining order

Secure a restraining order against your abuser with the advice of your lawyer, therapist, and domestic abuse center. Dealing with abuse requires a multi-discipline approach. It is important to talk to experts in the field because talking to just your legal counsel may not be enough for the reason that not all lawyers understand abuse. However, you need to understand the legal aspects, too.


Widening your knowledge of domestic abuse, co-parenting with an abuser, Texas laws on divorce and custody, local resources available to you, and how to deal with the emotional trauma that has been done and might be done by the abuser through the divorce process, can give you more advantage in the situation.

Only after considering these things and seeking the help of experts and loved ones should one proceed with the divorce and inform the abuser that you want to call it quits. If physical abuse is involved, getting out of the situation as quickly as possible is highly advised. After leaving the abuser, it is still best to do all the things above afterwards.

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Mr. Hutton is a Divorce and Custody Lawyer based out of Round Rock, TX. His background is with child psychology at Arizona State University where he received a B.S. in 2006, and he continued this by working with the Children’s Right’s Clinic at the University of Texas School of Law where he received his J.D. in 2009. Throughout his practice, he has been a strong proponent of utilizing modern technology to improve his practice and the representation of his clients. He currently is the technology chair of CAFA of Travis County and is committed to improving and modernizing the practice of law in Texas. If you have any questions you can contact him at

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