How do I leave my husband without becoming homeless?

I want to separate from my husband. I
have filled for divorce but he won’t
sign the papers. He is abusive and
controlling. He has HUD and draws SSI.
He made me sell my car so now I don’t
even have a vehicle. He has a vehicle.
I have no family or friends I can stay
with. We are currently involved with
dcbs and my mother-in-law currently has
custody of our 3 year old. If I become
homeless that will make it very hard to
get my son back. What do I do?

Asked on August 28, 2016 under Family Law, Kentucky


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

First, he can't make you homeless: he may not kick you out of your marital home (unless and until, in a divorce, there is a settlement or decree settling the issue of who lives where).
Second, he can't keep you married: if he won't voluntarily sign for an uncontested divorce, you can still file for divorce and, at the end of the divorce proceeding, get a divorce, child and/or spousal support, and some distribution of the marital assets (e.g. property, money). So if he won't sign, start the process for a contested divorce. You are advised to retain an attorney to help you, if at all possible; if you can't afford one, there may be free legal resources (Legal Services; womens' advocacy programs; law school family law clinics; etc.) which can help, so look for them. Worst case, you are allowed to file the case on your own, without an attorney ("pro se") and should be able to get instructions and forms from family court.
Third, once you start or file the divorce proceeding, if he tries to cut off money or support for you, you can file a motion on an "emergent" (think: urgent or emergency) basis to get a court order requiring at least minimal support while the case is ongoing.

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