Domestic Violence and Divorce

domestic violence, DuPage County divorce attorneyThere are many reasons why a dissolution of marriage becomes necessary. Spouses grow apart, partners fall out of love, and individuals change their life goals. Occasionally, divorce becomes necessary for safety reasons if one spouse is abusive. Although Illinois is a no-fault state and anyone can divorce, it is important to understand how domestic abuse in a marriage can affect the outcome of the divorce proceedings.

Married Without Children

Any type of abuse that occurs between romantic partners or spouses is considered domestic violence or abuse. The law defines domestic abuse as:

  • Physically harming or attempting to hurt someone, either intentionally or recklessly;
  • Sexual assault;
  • Creation of the reasonable fear of imminent harm;
  • Behavior such as harassing, stalking, threatening, or unwanted touching;
  • Disturbing the peace at home; and
  • Destruction of personal property.

Violence is not a requirement for an action to be considered abusive or for a couple to divorce. Anyone can divorce in Illinois. When considering whether to award spousal maintenance or how to divide property, however, Illinois courts are not permitted to consider marital misconduct, including domestic abuse. While it may seem unfair, a victim of abuse is not entitled to extra property or financial considerations in an Illinois divorce.

Married With Children

During divorce cases with kids in the home, decisions over child arrangements are often the most emotional. Decision-making responsibilities for children either be shared between the parents or given solely to one parent. Parenting time may be similarly allocated.

In any divorce proceeding, a judge must take into consideration the best interest of the child. They consider the health, schooling, safety, and all other factors that impact a child’s life. Therefore, any allegations of domestic violence must be investigated before creating child arrangement orders. If the judge has evidence of abuse by one parent either to the child, another parent, another child, or someone else in the home, the responsibilities and parenting time of the abusive party may be severely limited or denied altogether. The accused parent does have the right to refute such claims and advocate on his or her own behalf.

We Can Help

If you are considering divorcing an abusive spouse, it is imperative that you seek help immediately. If you are in danger now, call “911” or seek safety for you and your children. Once you are in a safe place, it is important that you begin the documentation process as well as obtaining a restraining order. Contact an experienced DuPage County family law attorney to guide you through all of the necessary processes. Call [[phone]] for a confidential consultation at our firm today.



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