How Does Domestic Violence Impact a Divorce Settlement in Illinois?

divorceDomestic violence is cruel and inhumane. It can make victims question their existence and sanity for years and is particularly painful for children. While divorce is an understandable solution, Illinois is a no-fault state.

This means that this crime or any reason cannot be specifically cited or used as grounds for divorce. However, all is not lost. If you are a victim of domestic violence, you can claim that ‘irreconcilable differences’ led to an irretrievable breakdown of your marriage. The state uses it as an umbrella term that covers any reason that can justify a divorce with help from Schaumburg divorce lawyers.

Illinois courts prefer that couples work together to resolve issues to prevent lengthy trials. However, this can be easier said than done when one spouse is a victim of domestic violence. A spouse that uses physical violence, threats, and emotionally manipulates to control their partner cannot be reasoned with.

What is Domestic Violence?

Domestic violence covers several harmful activities and behavior present in families across the state irrespective of their religious, educational, and economic backgrounds. While it is usually characterized by violence, the abuse’s priority is to gain control over the victim. No one commits a violent act regularly because they “cannot control themselves” or “cannot control their temper”. They use those feelings as fuel to control their victims via intimidating acts.

Legal Definition

Each state has its own domestic violence laws and how they affect divorce proceedings. In Illinois, these cases are affected by the Domestic Violence Act of 1986. The law defines the practice as an abusive act perpetrated against a family member or anyone living in the abuser’s house. Besides physical violence, domestic violence can also include interference, harassment, and deliberate deprivation.

Besides married and dating couples, domestic violence can occur between:

  • Ex couples (who used to be married or dated).
  • Parents and stepparents.
  • Children, siblings, and step-siblings.
  • Individuals who are sharing a home.
  • Individuals who used to share a home.
  • Individuals who have children together.

How to Determine If You Are In an Abusive Relationship

Just because they don’t hit you doesn’t mean they aren’t trying to control you using other means. Domestic violence can take on several forms, so there is a chance you may not know you are being abused. You are a victim if you are suffering through the following:

Reproductive or Sexual Abuse

If a spouse forces their partner to participate in dangerous, unwanted, or humiliating sexual acts, they are sexually abusing them. The sex act doesn’t have to be non-consensual to be abusive. Victims can be confused in this case. If your partner also prevents you from taking birth control pills or doesn’t take measures to prevent pregnancy and you get pregnant, that is considered a form of abuse.

Physical Abuse

Physical abuse is the most common type of domestic abuse that Schaumburg divorce lawyers deal with during a divorce case. It can include punching, slapping, hitting, choking, forcing someone to drink alcohol, taking drugs, or hurting children to control a victimized partner.

Emotional Abuse

Physical violation is not the only type of domestic abuse. It can also take an emotional form, such as gaslighting, stalking, belittling, relentless teasing, and guilt trips, among other nonviolent acts.

Grounds for Divorce in Illinois in Cases Involving Domestic Violence

Since Illinois is a no-fault state, you don’t have to prove that your partner abused you to get a divorce. You just need to say that the marriage is irreparable. This is especially beneficial for emotionally abused individuals who have hidden psychological scars from abuse.

Here are some factors that are affected in such divorce cases:

Property Division

In Illinois, marital property is divided equitably in a divorce. This means rather than a 50/50 split marital assets are divided according to the needs of the involved parties and their specific circumstances. However, the court doesn’t consider general bad behavior or domestic violence when dividing property.

If one party tries to hide or waste assets, they may get a smaller portion. The impact of the court’s decision on a domestic violence divorce case is usually indirect and equally effective. For instance, if a spouse doesn’t allow their partner to work outside the home so they can retain control, that can be considered abusive. Protective orders can also affect property division in a divorce case that involves domestic abuse.

Child Visitation and Custody

Domestic violence can also strongly impact child visitation and custody terms in a divorce case. This also includes parenting time. Typically, Illinois courts prefer that both parents remain involved in their children’s care and upbringing and often grant equal parenting time, but domestic violence can change that.

If a spouse also abused the children or they witnessed their parent abusing their mother or father in front of them, the court can reduce the abuser’s parenting time. If the court gives the victim more time with the children, they may also be entitled to child maintenance payments. In rare cases, the court can also prevent a parent from getting any time with their children. This can be the case if they think the victim and their children’s safety are in jeopardy in the abuser’s presence.

The court is not punishing the abuser. Its goal is to determine if any allegations pertaining to abuse impact their evaluation. Violence is just one factor that Illinois courts consider to determine what is in a child’s best interest.

Victims can also be intimidated into making a decision that benefits their abuser, even during divorce proceedings. That is why, if domestic violence is a factor, it will impact the logistics of shared parenting time and responsibilities. In this case, the court may take an active role in determining parental responsibilities rather than leaving it to the disputing couple. At this point, it is more important than ever to have legal representation from compassionate and committed Schaumburg divorce lawyers. Their advice and representation can prove invaluable in a contentious divorce case.

Orders of Protection

Before filing for divorce or even during proceedings, victims can get an order of protection from the court against their abuser. This order:

  • Demands that the abuser gets counseling from a social worker, psychiatrist, or other mental health professional.
  • Orders the abuser to stay away from the victim whether they are at work, school, or any other place.
  • Forbids the abuser from entering the victim’s residence even if the abuser owns it.
  • Orders the abuser to attend a drug or alcohol abuse program and domestic violence abuse program if needed.
  • Grants child custody to the victim.
  • Forbids the abuser from using firearms of any kind.
  • Orders the abuser to pay child support.
  • Gives custody of pets and personal property to the victim.

And grants any other provisions that the court deems necessary to protect the victim and their household. To acquire an order of protection, victims can:

  • Request it during divorce proceedings.
  • Ask their attorney to file it in civil court for them.
  • Request it during a criminal trial that focuses on the abuse.
  • Visit the local office of the circuit court clerk to get it themselves.
  • Get in touch with a domestic violence group and ask them for help in completing the forms for an order of protection.

The order can be entered at any time, so it doesn’t matter if divorce proceedings have started or not. Once the petition is filed, the orders are entered immediately. These are short-lived and can protect victims before the filing, and the hearing on the order. The order may impact your divorce case. This includes the number of times and circumstances that surround child visitation. A consultation with experienced Schaumburg divorce lawyers should be a priority at this point.

They can also help you understand how the order works. For example, an order of protection is one-way only. Once the order is entered, you cannot get in touch with your partner, but they can contact you. If you are a victim of emotional abuse, this situation can create pitfalls you may not realize until it is too late, especially when dividing marital assets. You may be forced to make decisions you may otherwise never make. A divorce lawyer can help you navigate those circumstances without compromising your mental health.

Contact Our Schaumburg Divorce Lawyers For A Consultation Today!

If you or someone you know is being abused by a partner or spouse, contact dedicated Schaumburg divorce lawyers at the Law Office of Fedor Kozlov for a consultation today. Our civic duty is to do our best to ensure our clients’ domestic safety and peace, so you know you will be in competent hands.

Our dedicated team of attorneys works hard to reveal the truth, so our clients don’t have to take on the emotional labor themselves. We ensure all op get the justice they deserve. We are also proficient in handling complex cases such as paternity issues and international abduction. We aim to find solutions that can protect your rights and ensure positive and lasting results for our clients.

With years of experience advocating for the rights of abuse victims such as yourself, we are well-versed in the intricacies of divorce laws and can guide you through them all. Schedule a consultation today by dialing (847) 241-1299. We take an empathetic approach for all of our meetings and focus on the reasons behind the breakdown of your marriage before creating a legal strategy that can work in your favor. This due diligence allows us to negotiate and litigate appropriately for the fastest divorce resolution possible.

Contact Us TodayFor a Consultation