Newbie Question

Hi everyone. Newbie posting a question here. I’m trying to assist a friend with removing herself and her child from a very inhospitable situation. Her husband is extremely controlling and manipulative and she’s about at her wits end. What she needs to know is if she leaves abruptly with her child, what does she do next to protect herself and her son, and how does she manage to retrieve their clothing and other personal items? What does she need in order to obtain an Order of Protection, (which we all know isn’t really worth the paper it’s written on), to limit his ability to harass and/or harm her?

I and my wife have offered her and her son a place to stay while she is going through all this and naturally, we too have concerns for our own safety as well. I’ve advised her that when she does make her “escape” to head directly for our home and upon arrival, we will then notify the local police and have them come out to speak with her since her husband in all likelihood is going to blow a gasket when she doesn’t return from “the store” in the specified time period.

Any help, advice, information, experiences, etc. will be greatly appreciated. I’ve helped rescue a person in a similar situation many years ago but that was in another state. I am not familiar with NC laws and regulations so I’m asking for information here before I step into a pond full of alligators neck deep. :slight_smile:
Many thanks in advance.


The only thing I can tell you is that she should take whatever it is that she wants from the home when she leaves. If she abandons the property (clothes, whatnots) if he’s controlling and vindictive, don’t expect it to exist, much less be able to be obtained after she leaves. As much as she can preprep without the STBX knowing and get her stuff out of the house, the better. If she can discreetly start moving items to another location that wouldn’t be noticed missing, that’d probably help.

She should also establish a separate bank account for herself in advance, and gather all financial documents that she can lay hands on (hers & his), make copies, and store them in a safe place that she can get to easily. Also probably want to get copies of other important items like SS#s of both herself and her husband, VIN#s for vehicles (registration & tags), etc. And, any evidence written or recorded of her husband’s controlling nature, cruelty, or physical abuse should be gotten and moved offsite. (If you are all really scared I’d even suggest keeping several copies of these in various locations just to have backups.) Then talk to the local credit bureau about what steps she’d need to do to prevent him from being able to damage her credit, which she will need to establish a new life.

She should immediately file for post-separation support (if she’s the supported spouse), child custody, child support, and probably equitable distribution (to obtain whatever financial assets are available) as soon as possible after leaving, as well.

Good luck to you all.

Athos is right. She will need to take as many belongings as she possibly can at the time she moves out. He can change the locks and charge her with Domestic Criminal Trespass once she moves out if she tries to enter the property without his permission. If she cannot get all of her things out and he will not grant her entry to the home to get her things, she will need to include a motion for interim distribution in her Equitable Distribution claim in order to get them.

In NC, there must be a fear of imminent physical harm to apply for a DVPO (domestic violence protective order). She cannot obtain a DVPO unless she fears her or the children are in danger of imminent bodily harm. If he isn’t violent or threatening violence to her, controlling behavior and manipulation, while damaging to a person, is often not enough to get a DVPO. The police are unlikely to get involved unless there’s an active protective order or he is physically harming her or threatening to.

Once she’s separated, she should meet with an attorney to create a plan of action regarding filing for custody, spousal support (if applicable), child support and equitable distribution.

Thanks to the both of you for your responses. Pretty much as I figured but I wanted input from others to confirm. I’m inclined to believe, (from what I know so far), that as soon as she fails to “return on time” he’s going to go nuts and blow a few gaskets lighting up her cell phone with all sorts of threatening messages and texts. I’m in hopes we can get local law enforcement to view these messages for the threats they are and take appropriate actions, up to and including arrest for transmitting terroristic threats. With all the media attention recently concerning domestic violence, I’m really hopeful that some sort of positive intervention will be made in order to protect her, her child, and other parties concerned.

If her husband works, she could always do what I did when I left my husband…have friends ready and waiting in the neighborhood with a U-Haul, and when he leaves for work, literally throw everything she wants into that truck and get the heck out of Dodge. Since she is not planning to leave the state, there wouldn’t be much to worry about there, but whatever she does not take, she likely won’t get back.

I had 5 men, 1 woman and myself, and we loaded up my entire house (less a few pieces of furniture and all my ex’s belongings, and things I knew he would want, and I didn’t) and were GONE in 5 hours. It can be done, but it’s frantic, and a bit scary…and if he suspects that she might do something like this, he could return at any time…especially if he has any neighbors would would call him.

A lot to keep in mind, but it can be done. If she can’t or doesn’t want to do what I did, then definitely have her start making copies of statements, and getting all of that information together…and she should really take the things that are not replaceable (like baby books, pictures, etc…)

Also not an attorney