If you decide to leave, even for a very short period of time, take your children with you if it's at all possible and you can do so without exposing them to harm or risk of harm, or violating a custody order. Not only can you better ensure the safety of your children if they are with you, but having physical custody of your children will help you get temporary or permanent legal custody of your children if you decide to file a custody petition with the court.

If you decide to leave, take these things with you, if possible, because it may be difficult to get them later:

  • Orders of Protection

  • Custody orders, paternity documents

  • Identification for yourself

  • Birth certificates - yours and your children's

  • Social Security cards

  • Marriage, separation or divorce papers

  • School and vaccination records

  • Money

  • Checkbook, Savings Account Passbooks, Automatic Teller Machine Card, PIN numbers

  • Credit Cards and or account numbers

  • Keys - house, car, office, post office box, safety deposit box

  • Drivers license, car registration and title

  • Medications and prescriptions

  • Health insurance or Medicaid cards

  • Welfare identification
  • Passport, green card, work permit and any other immigration documents

  • Several changes of clothes

  • Children's favorite toys, security blankets

  • Lease/rental agreement, house deed

  • Mortgage Payment book, current unpaid bills

  • Insurance papers

  • Address book

  • Pictures, jewelry, items of sentimental value

  • Pictures of injuries you may have gotten from your partners abuse

  • Any evidence that might help police in investigating your case, for example, threatening letters or phone message tapes

Make copies of important documents and keys and find a safe place to keep them in case you decide to leave. A safe place can include a hiding place in your home or with a friend, neighbor or family member that you trust.

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