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Domestic violence and divorce

Domestic violence in Massachusetts is a serious problem, and women who experience abuse in their marriage need to make an escape plan. Preparing for safety is priority number one, especially if there are children involved. However, women also need to plan in other ways, such as financially, as going through a divorce can be challenging even in the best circumstances.

According to Forbes, domestic violence can occur in all age groups, income levels and social classes. It states that around 33 percent of women have been physically abused by their partner, and that every nine seconds a woman is beaten. Divorce can escalate hostility and anger and, as a result, some violence begins during the separation process or divorce proceedings. Although it is not always the case, men who are abusive are often very controlling, which can cause additional issues during divorce. Abused women may find they experience economic hardship due to the husband cutting off access to marital funds, purposely ruining the women's credit or putting all major assets into her or his name.

Women who are being abused should make a plan and get in touch with resources that can help. The Massachusetts Office for Victim Assistance is available to aid in a variety of ways. MOVA works directly with victims of violence, and can help with crisis intervention. Some of the ways it helps women include:

  • Advocacy in the criminal justice system
  • Referrals to providers and programs
  • Case management for families
  • Personalized safety planning
  • Help obtaining restraining orders
  • Information on legal options 

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