Should I Leave The Marital Home With The Kids To Escape Abuse?


My wife is constantly abusive towards me and I feel I need to leave the house as soon as possible. However, I do not want to leave my children behind.

Should I move out and take my kids with me? What are the legal ramifications of doing so?


First, I am licensed to practice law in the state of Pennsylvania and I am not sure if this information will be applicable to your state, so I urge you to seek a consultation with local counsel.

In Pennsylvania, if you are being abused and are in fear of imminent danger from your spouse, you can file a protection from abuse petition on behalf of yourself, or on behalf of yourself and your children. A hearing will be held within 10 days to establish a final order, but an interim order will be issued that can grant you custody, exclusive possession of the marital residence and temporary relief from abuse.

In the alternative, I would suggest to file for custody of your children prior to leaving the marital residence so that a custody order for physical and legal custody would be in place prior to either party leaving the marital residence. If you choose to vacate the marital residence without first obtaining a custody order, you could lose a great amount of leverage in custody negotiations.

If you do choose to leave prior to a custody order being established, ensure that you have proper accommodations for your children to stay with you, including separate bedrooms, and choose a residence in the current school district in which the children currently attend.

Also, if you choose to leave the marital residence with the children, your spouse could file a custody complaint immediately and ask the court to establish an interim custody schedule pending a final order.

Again, I am a licensed attorney in Pennsylvania and the procedures and statutes for such actions may not be the same in your state.  Please consult local counsel for a more directed response and advice applicable to your jurisdiction.

To arrange an initial consultation to discuss divorce rights for men with a Cordell & Cordell attorney, contact Cordell & Cordell.

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Shawn Garrison is an Online Editor for Lexicon, focusing on subjects related to the legal services of customers, Cordell & Cordell and Cordell & Cordell UK. He has written countless pieces dealing with the unique child custody and divorce issues that men and fathers face. Through his work on,, and, Mr. Garrison has become an authority on the complexities of the legal experience and was a content creator for the YouTube series “Dad’s Divorce Live” and additional videos on both the Dad’s Divorce and Cordell & Cordell YouTube channels. Mr. Garrison has managed the sites of these customers, and fostered the creation of several of their features, including the Cordell & Cordell attorney and office pages, the Dad’s Divorce Newsletter, and the Cordell & Cordell newsletter.

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