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Divorcing an Abusive Spouse in Illinois

 Posted on February 13, 2019 in Divorce

DuPage County family law attorneysThe Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimate that one in four women and one in seven men will be victims of domestic violence in their lifetime. Domestic violence can include actual or threats of physical violence, forced sexual contact, psychological abuse, stalking, and financial abuse. The state of Illinois as well as the federal government have enacted laws to hold abusive partners accountable and protect domestic abuse victims. Many of these laws address how domestic violence affects court decisions during divorce.

Filing for Divorce

Illinois is a “no fault” state when it comes to divorce law. This means that divorcing couples do not need to prove that the other spouse did something wrong in order to be granted a divorce. Couples who wish to file for a divorce in Illinois will list “irreconcilable differences” as the reason for the divorce. Even though domestic violence cannot be the grounds for a divorce, you can still introduce evidence of your spouse’s abusive behavior during the case.

Child Custody

Evidence of abuse or domestic violence almost always influences child custody decisions—also known as the allocation of parental responsibilities under Illinois law. The court will always make custody decisions based on what it believes is in the child’s best interest. A spouse who has been physically abusive to a child or abusive to a spouse in front of the child will probably not receive custody of the child. Even domestic violence that occurs without the child’s knowledge may lessen the amount of parental responsibility a parent is awarded. Judges sometimes order supervised visitation for parents who have been abusive.

Orders of Protection

It is important to note that the court will only be aware of domestic violence if there is record of it. Simply assuming that the court will figure out that your abusive spouse is violent is ineffective and dangerous. Getting an order of protection, sometimes called a restraining order, is one way to help protect yourself and your children. If you are in fear for your safety or that of your child, do not wait to get help.

Property Division

Generally, divorcing spouses are encouraged to negotiate child custody, spousal maintenance, and property division issues. In cases involving domestic violence, however, this may not be a safe or practical approach. When there is a protective order in effect, spouses may not be permitted to be in close proximity to each other. Divorcing spouses who cannot agree on divorce issues generally require court intervention. Judges occasionally award a greater share of the marital estate to an abused spouse., but this most often occurs when the abuser negatively affected the couple’s finances.

Contact a Naperville, IL Domestic Violence and Protective Order Lawyer

Allegations of domestic abuse can have weighty consequences on divorce. To speak with an experienced DuPage County family law attorney, contact Pesce Law Group, P.C. Call 630-352-2240 for a free consultation.



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