Florida risk protection orders may not be enough
Our state takes domestic violence seriously. Indeed, Florida has risk protection orders to help safeguard families from their familial abusers. And, this blog posted, recently covered RPOs in detail. However, what many DV victims do not realize is that an RPO may not be enough to truly be free from the abuse, especially if you share a child.
Ongoing domestic violence
It likely will come as a shock to our Lakeland, Florida, readers, but even when DV victims leave or divorce their spouse, the abuse, usually, does not stop. In fact, according to recent research, ongoing post-separation abuse is the rule, not the exception, as over 90% of surveyed abuse victims admit to ongoing post-separation abuse that lasted for years.
Frequently, the moment you leave, they will try to take away your access to your accounts, whether cash, credit or brokerage. They want you broke.
Then, they will destroy your credit by opening up multiple accounts and possibly, strategically, missing payments on accounts you are listed on (but, may not actually have access to). This is to make it difficult, if not impossible, to open new lines of credit to live. However, your new, lower credit score will also make getting a new job or an apartment much harder, if it is possible at all.
The abuser will also abuse the legal system to hurt you. This could be economically by reducing their income in some way, or by filing false police reports against you. They may even try to get an RPO against you. If you have kids, they may accuse you of abusing them and sue you for primary or sole custody as a result.
Another way they can continue their abuse is by keeping you isolated from your Florida family, friends and coworkers. They will even gaslight people who know about the abuse. They will lie about the relationship, and they will paint you in a dark light. If they have access to your social media, they could post disparaging, embarrassing or terrible things to make you look even worse. They want you isolated and alone.
Make a plan
While this list is not exhaustive, it should be enough to drive the point home that you need an exit plan. Before you leave or let your soon-to-be ex-spouse know that you are leaving, make an exit plan with your Lakeland, Florida, attorney.