Need to Escape an Abusive Spouse? On Fleeing Your Marriage (and Taking the Kids)


Sometimes, the best option as you see it might literally be to run away from your marriage and take your kids. If you are in an abusive situation where you feel your only option is to “run away” then by all means, do it. Don’t even think about it twice. But keep the following in mind:

#1. You are going to need money (especially if you have kids in tow). So you need to plan your getaway very thoroughly and this means that you probably have to start stashing cash someplace for at least 3-6 months. The way you do this has to be clandestine so that your spouse is not the wiser. That will probably mean hiding the cash but in places your spouse would least suspect. Like in a flower pot in the garden. But irregardless of what your situation is, everybody should have a runaway fund stashed someplace just in case. It is irresponsible not to, as far as I am concerned. It’s like having sex without a condom with a perfect stranger!

#2. You will have to think about legal ramifications. If you have the children in tow, this could be kidnapping. How are you planning on getting around that? Because you being thrown into prison is not going to help those kids one iota. So if you decide to take the risk anyway, make sure you really disappear and are never found otherwise, you could land yourself in jail once your spouse and the FBI track you down. And no, the fact that he or she was abusive does not usually save you from Paris Hilton’s fate.

#3. The fewer people who know your plans, the better. Try not to tell ANYBODY whatsoever about your plans. This way, they can’t accidentally spill the beans. The very last person you should tell are siblings, parents and best friends as these are the people the police will question first.

#4. Leave all cellphones, keys, etc at home. Take nothing that could be used to trace and track you down. And if you have a car with GPS, disable it and dump the car as soon as possible.

#5. Don’t rent a car with your credit card. But do try to get a set of wheels somehow that are not your usual.

#6. Rearrange your appearance. Dye or cut your hair and that of the children. Completely change your wardrobes. You can buy stuff at the goodwill.

#7. Pack light. Only take the clothes on your back. When you leave home it should look like you are heading right back not like you are going on a long trip.

#8. Map out your route ahead of time and mix modes of transportation. Train, bus, airplane, car, boat, tram, ferry. All sorts of modes should be used to make it hard to track you down.

#9. You need to pack the passports and birth certificates. Get these out of the house in advance of your getaway and maybe even mail them to the new place ahead of time.

#10. Set up a destination ahead of time – especially if you have kids in tow. The last thing you need is to wandering around looking homeless with your kids in tow.

#11. Toss all your social media accounts and emails. Create new emails and avoid social media altogether for perhaps a few years, if not forever.

#12. If you need to go to another country, be sure to familiarize yourself in advance with the laws and customs of the country especially with respect to child abduction, women’s rights and even employment of foreigners (assuming you will need to find work to support yourself and your kids.)

The National Domestic Violence hotline 1-800-799-7233 is available if you feel your life or that of your children is in immediate danger.