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I just want to get away from the person who is abusing me. Should I even worry about my belongings?

Produced by Massachusetts Law Reform Institute
Reviewed September 2019

Your safety and your child's safety are most important. You may not have time to think about personal property if you have to leave quickly.

If you have time, remember that you and your children will need furniture, beds, clothes, money, and maybe a car when you are on your own. It may be hard to leave if you have to move into an empty apartment. You may have to spend all of your money on first and last month's rent in a new apartment. You may not have any money left to buy dishes, furniture, or a car. It may be easier to stay safe and independent if you take household things with you. If you decide to take your things or just what you need, make sure it is safe.

Some survivors worry that they will look bad to the court if they take or ask for personal property or money.  On the other hand, the court may expect you to take care of yourself and your safety. The court may also expect you to look out for your child. It is sensible and careful to get enough money and property to support yourself and your child.

It may not be safe to try to get money or property from the person who abused you. You are the best person to decide what is safe. A counselor at a domestic violence program may be able to help you think about how to get the property you need.

Who to call for help

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You may be able to get free legal help from your local legal aid program. Or email a question about your own legal problem to a lawyer.

Chapter 11. Appendix

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