The end of any relationship is a highly emotional and stressful time. It is a sad fact that many people experience threats to their safety even after their relationship ends – from stalking to threats to physical violence – especially if a divorce or custody case is starting as a result.
If you are in a situation in which you feel unsafe because of your ex’s behavior, there are options available to help you. One relatively simple option is to keep your address confidential during a divorce or custody proceeding, or even to utilize the Secretary of State’s Office service called Safe at Home, which keeps your actual address confidential so that you can have all mail forwarded to a P.O. Box which can be used as your legal address.
If you are concerned that your ex may be stalking you, especially electronically, or on social media, it is important to remember to do the following after separation:
- Change all of your passwords, including for your email addresses and social media accounts – even if you do not think your ex knows your password, there may be ways that you are not thinking of that he or she can use to figure your password out.
- Many internet accounts will allow your ex to access your account even if they do not have the password by answering security questions. Remember to change the answers to your security questions. Keep in mind, your ex probably knows your mother’s maiden name, or the street you grew up on, or can easily figure those things out. Therefore, it is important to lie on your new security questions when you change them.
- If you share a cell phone account with your ex, get a new account. If you do not, your ex can gather an astonishing amount of information about you and your activities just from phone records. This also applies for services such as OnStar, in a vehicle, which your ex could activate if he or she has access to the account.
If your ex has been violent with you in the past, or you have reason to believe he or she will be violent with you in the future, you should talk to an attorney about the possibility of bringing an Order for Protection against your ex. If you have safety concerns, when you retain an attorney for a divorce of custody case, ask your attorney about forming a safety plan.
Your safety is an extremely important issue, and, fortunately, there are resources available to help. If you have questions about safe separations, feel free to contact our Minneapolis-St. Paul Domestic Violence Attorneys at (651) 647-0087 or to take advantage of any of the resources available at the following websites: