Advice for Those Divorcing an Abusive Spouse

abusive, Rolling Meadows divorce attorneysThe National Domestic Violence Hotline reports that approximately three in 10 women and one in 10 men in the United States have been the victim of rape, physical violence, or stalking by romantic partner. It takes a tremendous amount of courage to leave an abusive relationship. Abusive spouses often convince their partners that they cannot lead a successful life without them. Perpetrators of abuse use put-downs, gaslighting, threats, intimidation, and more to maintain control over their partner and convince them not to leave. If you are considering divorcing an abusive spouse, you may be unsure of where to start. Read on to learn about divorce in Illinois and how you can protect yourself and your children from an abusive spouse.

Illinois is a “No Fault” State

In some states, married couples who wish to divorce must list a reason, or grounds, for why they are seeking the dissolution of marriage. Illinois, however, is a “no fault” state. This means that anyone can seek a divorce for any reason. Those wishing to end their marriage simply list “irreconcilable differences” as the grounds for the divorce. If your spouse has been abusive to you, you will not need to prove this in order to be granted a divorce. However, even though domestic abuse cannot be the grounds for a divorce, you will still have an opportunity to introduce evidence of your spouse’s violent, threatening, or demeaning behavior during the case.

Keeping Children Safe from an Abusive Spouse

Evidence of domestic violence almost always effects child custody decisions. Illinois courts make decisions regarding parenting time and the allocation of parental responsibilities based on the child’s or children’s best interest. A spouse who has abused a child or abused a spouse in front of the child will likely not receive custody of the child. Even if your partner’s domestic violence was kept hidden from your children, the court may reduce the amount of parental responsibility he or she is awarded. In some circumstances, supervised visitation is ordered for parents who have been abusive.

Orders of Protection

If you are worried for you or your children’s immediate safety, do not hesitate to call 911 or leave straightaway. You may also want to consider seeking an Emergency Order of Protection (EOP). An EOP, sometimes referred to as a “restraining order,” is a legally-binding document which says that the abusive spouse must stay a certain distance away from you, your children, and/or your places of work and school. If your spouse violates the EOP, he or she will be arrested. Having documentation such as this is critical to proving your spouse’s violent behavior during the divorce.

Contact an Arlington Heights Divorce Attorney

If you are planning on leaving an abusive spouse, contact an experienced and compassionate Rolling Meadows domestic violence lawyer for help. Call 847-253-3100 to schedule a cost-free, completely confidential initial consultation at the Law Offices of Donald J. Cosley today.



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