You can and should take your children; however, you may want to talk first to a divorce lawyer if your reason for leaving is not abuse, or (if the reason is abuse) a women's shelter/advocacy group in order to get your story and reasons for leaving "on record".
Here's why: When women leave their marriages it is common for men to accuse (and even honestly believe) their wife is insane (for wanting to leave "wonderful them"). I don't know what the laws are in each state, but getting you picked up by the police or an ambulance is as easy as telling authorities he thinks you may hurt yourself and/or the children. Believing "all it takes is explaining" to straighten out "the misunderstanding" is incorrect. Once you get picked up you can be in a no-win situation.
Don't count on your family or friends to be your back up. They may think you're crazy for wanting to leave the guy as well. So, talk to someone in the system.
If you can't talk to someone ahead of time go to the court clerk's office and ask what papers to file for divorce. There may be an "indigence" form if you don't have the money to file. The best thing, though, is for you to get to people in the system before he does.
Great advice from the other commenter. Do not leave your husband unless there is danger to you and your children. Go to the courts like you were told and see about the proper forms. Consultations are free for most divorce lawyers so you can have an idea of what to expect as well. Also most states require that you separate for a year before a divorce can be issued.
The person who can provide better for the children will most likely win custody but depending on the circumstances you may get custody and whatever assets that can be split between the two of you. Do not leave your husband on your own without a plan because like the commenter said, they will be wondering why are you leaving such a "wonderful man."
Also consider the fact is that most divorced women incomes dip in the absence of a husband so you want to see about being self supporting if you are able to work.
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