Questions About Leaving


Many victims of domestic violence ask these questions about leaving.

Can I take my children with me when I leave?

  • Yes. If you can do it safely, definitely take your children with you. It may be more difficult later.
  • Get legal custody of them within a few days. This is very important. Many of the groups listed in this book may help you find assistance.
  • If you do not have your children with you, it may be difficult filing for temporary custody of your children. The parent who has physical possession of the children may have an advantage getting temporary custody.
  • Your partner may try to kidnap, threaten or harm the children in order to get you to return.
  • If you are in immediate danger and cannot take your children, contact the police immediately to arrange for temporary protective custody. (This does not mean you will lose custody. Permanent custody will be decided later by a judge.)

Where do I go?

  • Stay with a friend or relatives.
  • If you are a woman, do not stay with a man unless he is a relative. (Living with a man you are not married to could hurt your chances of getting custody of your children and spousal support. It could also cause conflict with your abuser.)
  • Go to a battered women’s shelter with your children. The staff there can help you get legal and financial help as well as provide counseling and emotional support for you and your children.
  • Or call 911 because it is a good start.

Your life and your safety are most important. Trying to bring your children with you is important. Everything else is secondary.