She Was Forced to Stay Married to Her Abuser For a Year Because of This Terrifying Loophole

February 08, 2018

When Sarah Barrick married her husband five years ago, she never expected her marriage to fall apart. She was ready to commit for life. But when her life was put in danger, she had to reevaluate that decision.

When she first got married, she knew it was a lifetime commitment. “When I got married, I thought this is it. You get married, you work things out, you stay together, you die old together. I was not looking to be divorced within 5 years of my marriage and at the age of 33.”

But after three years of marriage, she knew that she had to get out. Her husband shoved her through a wall and put her life at risk.

When she realized that she had to get out of her marriage, she brought evidence proving that he had abused her. That evidence was enough to file a restraining order, but she was unable to divorce him.

According to a law in North Carolina, “Marriages may be dissolved...if and when the husband and wife have lived separate and apart for one year.” Because Sarah had not lived away from her ex-husband for more than a year, she was not granted a divorce.

Because she was unable to legally get divorced, her health insurance provider continued to charge her for her husband’s insurance. They would not accept “separated” as adequate to remove him from the plan.

“I was forced to carry his health insurance until I couldn’t afford to pay the premiums and the insurance company dropped me,” she shared. She has fairly extreme health struggles, including Lupus and Rheumatoid Arthritis, so this could have been extremely dangerous for her.

Sarah started a petition on to encourage representative in North Carolina to take a look at the law. However, several years ago, a bill was proposed to eliminate the waiting period, but it did not pass.

Sarah recognizes that her situation isn’t as scary as it could be. “My situation is nothing compared to what other people have gone through,” she shared. “I suffered mental and emotional abuse throughout our 10 years together but other people have had it 10 times worse.

She is horrified by the idea that others might be going through much worse than her. “Someone can literally be beaten to bloody pulp and have to remain married to their abuser for a year and a day. It’s wrong.”

To support Sarah’s efforts, sign her petition on You never know what situation someone is in.

In other news, this Arizona 3-year-old was missing. She was found the next morning with her family dog by her side. Read more here.

Next: Missing Arizona 3-Year-Old Found With Family DogJan 30, 2018