b2ap3_thumbnail_domestic-violence_20170816-022611_1.jpgBefore you can divorce your abusive spouse, you might need to get yourself out of your home and into a healthy mental and physical state. You can do this by making use of the resources available to you provided by the Illinois Coalition Against Domestic Violence. Use its website or call the Illinois Domestic Violence Hotline to find a safe way to leave your home and reach your nearest victims’ shelter. Ending an abusive marriage can take time, money, and your mental and physical energy, but it is always worth it.

The Illinois Coalition Against Domestic Violence

The Illinois Coalition Against Domestic Violence (ICADV) is a nonprofit organization that provides resources to domestic violence victims throughout Illinois. These resources include grants for organizations seeking to provide resources to domestic violence victims, safety planning for victims, education and outreach for victims, and training for licensed counselors and social workers who work with domestic violence victims.

Orders of Protection

If you feel you are in danger of suffering more abuse by your former partner, use an order of protection to keep him or her from contacting or coming near you. To do this, file a Petition for an Order of Protection with your local circuit court. There are three types of order of protection available to Illinois residents:

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Illinois divorce attorney, Illinois family lawyerIn the wake of recent political upheavals, it is becoming common to encounter instances when family law questions and concerns acquire an immigration element. Many U.S. citizens hold dual citizenship or are married to foreign nationals. Their children may also be dual citizens. Given that many issues seem to be unsettled, in terms of the new administration’s policies, it is important to be able to react to ensure your family is protected.

Immigrant Status and Family Law

In theory, immigration law is meant to promote the idea of family unity, but in practice, U.S. immigration law can often separate families of different citizenship. Federal immigration law controls where it exists, but there are many loopholes most often filled by imperfect or inexact state laws that are applied unevenly. For example, a battered spouse may apply under immigration laws to obtain a U visa or status under the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), but it is state family courts and family law that govern domestic violence cases.

One does not necessarily have to prove citizenship in any country in order to avail oneself of the courts in Illinois; however, one must prove state residency to be able to dispute certain issues such as parenting time or spousal support. Without proof of state residency, Illinois courts have no jurisdiction to enforce orders regarding these issues. Marriage may also be a question, especially in the context of VAWA claims or allegations of fraud.

Divorce and Child Issues

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Illinois divorce attorney, Illinois family lawyerDomestic violence is one of the most common issues in divorces, especially when dealing with parenting time questions. Because it is so commonly discussed and dealt with, however, many persistent myths have appeared on the topic. If you do not have the right information when you need it, you run the risk of missing opportunities or information that could help you out of a difficult situation.

MYTH: Domestic violence laws in Illinois only apply to mistreatment between spouses. Fact: The Illinois Domestic Violence Act explicitly states that the laws do not only apply to abuse between spouses. 750 ILCS 60/103(6) prohibits any abuse being visited on “family” or “household members,” which casts the net much wider. Past jurisprudence has included ex-spouses, roommates, co-parents of a child who lives in the home (not necessarily married), and disabled people and their caregivers under this umbrella. Essentially, as long as one or both parties to the abuse can demonstrate a relationship to the home, the law will apply.

MYTH: Abuse, for the purposes of charging someone with domestic violence, must be of a physical nature. Fact: As long as it can be shown that one person seeks to harass or control another person and has caused tangible harm in doing so, abuse can be alleged. Physical abuse need not leave bruises - if it causes harm or the imminent threat of harm, it is abuse under the law. Abuse in this context may also be emotional or even financial - essentially any act that seeks power over another person may be held to be abusive if evidence of intent and harm are presented.

MYTH: If you are an abuse victim, there is no one who must help you besides the police. Fact: In each state, there are many people who have, in their professional capacity, a mandatory obligation to report any suspicion of domestic abuse. In Illinois, the mandatory reporting requirement falls on medical care practitioners - any person authorized by Illinois law to “offer health care in the ordinary course of business” must furnish a suspected victim with resources on where to turn. They are also immunized against most (if not all) Good Samaritan actions.

MYTH: If you do not leave your abusive spouse immediately, it will be held against you when you later contest parenting time and support issues. Fact: It is becoming more commonly known that leaving an abusive spouse is not always possible, especially if one has children. To leave an abusive partner, one requires money and time, and given the controlling nature of most abusers, this may be very difficult to obtain. Good faith is generally ascribed to victims of domestic abuse unless it becomes readily apparent that this is misguided.

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Illinois family law attorney, Illinois divorce lawyerWhile it is not uncommon for the road to and through divorce to be a mutual, peaceful one, the reality remains that there is always that percentage of married couples who do not make it through the journey without multiple bumps in the road. Divorce is often plagued by conflict, tension, and problems reaching resolution on numerous matters, from everything to parenting time arrangements and the creation of a parenting plan, to the division of assets and child support payments.

Approaching Divorce as a Beginning, Not an End

Whatever your personal divorce circumstances look like, if you are on the verge of blending a new family dynamic together shortly after your split, then you are on deck for a whole new challenge entirely. Those pesky conflicts you faced throughout the divorce proceedings are no longer tied to the separation alone, but are now factors that will come into play with another issue: The task of beginning a new chapter with your newly blended family. Merging a new family means working with your former partner, addressing lingering hurt your children are experiencing from the previous marriage, and channeling your time and energy into building a healthy foundation with your new partner and their children.

Challenges You May Face as a New Stepparent

Some of the challenges a new stepparent may face are diverse. Here are some points of conflict you can expect to encounter if you are freshly divorced, or if your new partner has recently been through a split:

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Posted on in Family Law

Illinois divorce attorney, Illinois family law attorneyFor some couples facing marital troubles, divorce as a solution is a last resort and legal separation is the first course of action. There are countless reasons you or your spouse might not be ready to call it quits just yet, and legal separation allows you time to assess the damage and decide whether or not divorce is the right choice.

How Is Legal Separation Different from Divorce?

Like divorce, legal separation is a legal action that officially deems you both separated in the eyes of the law. However, legal separation is a term and is not an actual divorce. According to the law, you are still married and may not marry other people. Your property and possessions are not divided up unless you ask the court to divide those things for you. The court can decide other things with a legal separation, such as child support, parenting time (visitation), and allocation of parental responsibilities (child custody).

To qualify for legal separation in Illinois, you must have been living in the state for at least 90 days, not be “at fault” for the separation, and must be physically living apart from your spouse. “At fault” is defined by many things, including adultery and abandonment. Filing for legal separation does not prevent you from filing for a divorce later on, should you decide to end the marriage entirely.

Legal Separation Can Be Beneficial

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