Leaving for Good
Last month, we began making plans to leave a relationship, stressing the importance of planning with military precision, leaving nothing to chance. The object is to make sure your new life gets off to a secure, problem-free beginning. Change your address and make sure your bank is aware of your new address. Plan where to go, change your social security number, open a bank account and have some money stashed.
Get Credit in Your Own Name You must have this to get an apartment. If you can, go to your new bank and put say $200 in a savings account that you cannot touch and get a credit card with a $200 limit. Or….you can get a friend or relative to co-sign for you. The idea is to build good credit by faithfully paying off each month. If possible, build up about three good (always paying on time) lines of credit.
Protect Your New AccountsWhen you call on any bank or company you have an account with, you will be asked your social security number and perhaps your mother’s maiden name for security identification. This is information your abuser has. Protect your new accounts by instructing the company to replace your social security number with a password known only to you for verification purposes. You can ask to change your account number. It will be unknown to your abuser; therefore, he cannot meddle in your financial affairs.
Department of Motor Vehicles If you have a vehicle you plan on taking, look carefully at the title. If it is registered in your name only, great. If in his OR your name, you are good to go. After you move, you can go to the DMV, file your change of address and have his name taken off the title. HOWEVER, if the title states his name AND your name you will need his signature on the title turning it over to you. REMEMBER, your abuser will be able to trace you through the vehicle if you leave in a jointly titled vehicle with his name on the title.
Joint Accounts You will want to cut all ties when you leave. If your abuser is the principal on any joint accounts, in most cases you can contact the bank and sign a form removing you as co-signer. This will be easier if it is a bank account or any kind of account with money in it, but more difficult if you owe. If you are the primary, you can have him removed. BE PREPARED: Call all institutions in advance and check on their policy.
Telephone To get an unlisted number, contact your phone company and tell them you want to be non-published. That way, your address or phone number will not be listed. Check on it periodically. You can also ask the telephone company to list only your first initial with your last name rather than spelling out your first name. This will make it much harder to find you.
Computer If you are using a computer your abuser has access to for research regarding your escape, BEWARE – he could find out! Internet Explorer stores a history of all the websites you have visited. There are ways to delete your browsing history.
To delete your browsing history in Internet Explorer 7:
- Open Internet Options by clicking the START button, click on Control Panel, click on Network and Internet, then click on Internet Options.
- Click the General tab and then, under Browsing history, click Delete.
- Under History, click Delete history, and then click Yes to confirm.
- Click Close, and click OK.
To delete all or some of your browsing history in Internet Explorer 8:
- Open Internet Explorer by clicking the Start button, then then click on Internet Explorer.
- Click the Safety button, and then click Delete Browsing History.
- If you do not want to delete the cookies and the files associated with websites in your Favorites list, select the Preserve Favorites website data check box.
- Select the check box next to each category of information you want to delete.
- Click Delete.
Should you need more help, seek support from your web browser.
If you want to be absolutely sure your abuser cannot check up on your internet use, use a computer he does not have access to, like at the library. Remember to change your passwords often, especially after you leave, just to make sure.
If you need help, contact:
LPSO Victim Advocate 318-992-206
The Wellspring Alliance for Families: 318-323-1505