How Domestic Violence Affects an Illinois Divorce

In most divorce cases, the court encourages couples to resolve their differences on all divorce-related issues and work together to reach a final agreement. However, there are some circumstances in which court intervention is necessary. 

One of those circumstances is domestic violence against a spouse and/or the children. Domestic violence takes a variety of forms, such as physical abuse, emotional abuse, sexual abuse, and even financial abuse. 

If you are a victim of domestic violence and interested in filing for a divorce in Illinois, your attorney can help you understand how the abuse can impact your case. 

Property Division 

Not only does an order of protection—also known as a restraining order—forces your spouse to stop abusing and contacting you and your family members, but it can also protect your marital property and prevent financial abuse. For example, if an abusive spouse attempts to deny the other spouse access to marital property or sell assets and keep the profit, a protective order can restrict such actions. 

Additionally, a judge will consider domestic violence a factor in dividing property. The abused spouse may be awarded enough assets to become independent and self-supporting after divorce. 

Child Custody & Visitation 

Domestic violence can significantly impact parenting time in Illinois. A judge will decide child custody and visitation matters based on the best interests of the child. If a parent abuses or threatens the child, the child witnesses a parent abuse the other parent, or the nature of the domestic abuse is serious and ongoing, then the court will likely give one spouse sole custody of the child and order supervised parenting time. In extreme cases, the court may deny parenting time. 

Criminal Charges for Domestic Violence 

Remember, domestic violence and violating a protective order are criminal offenses in Illinois. If you feel like you or your children are in immediate danger of violence, you must call the police and have your spouse arrested. 

Proving Domestic Violence in a Divorce Case 

You must have evidence of domestic violence in order to support your claims during the divorce proceedings. Common types of evidence include text messages, e-mails, photos, videos, police reports,  and medical records. 

If you have been the victim of abuse and you are afraid to file for divorce, let our Chicago legal team at the Law Offices of Jonathan Merel, P.C. protect your rights and best interests. Call (312) 487-2795 or fill out our online contact form today for a phone consultation. 

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