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IL divorce lawyerDomestic violence affects millions of men and women across the country and throughout Illinois. Leaving an abusive partner takes a great deal of courage, but many former victims feel that leaving their abuser was the best decision they ever made. If you are planning to leave your abusive spouse, you may feel uncertain and afraid. You may not know what your rights are under Illinois law or how you can protect yourself during the divorce process. Read on to learn about some of the steps you can take to protect yourself, your children, your property, and your future when divorcing someone who has abused you.

Protecting Yourself and Your Loved Ones From Further Abuse

Abusers often use physical violence and psychological manipulation to keep their victims under their control. When an abusive person learns that his or her spouse plans to file for divorce, his or her threatening and abusive behavior may escalate in an effort to maintain this control. An Emergency Order of Protection (EOP) is like a restraining order. It prohibits the abuser from coming within a certain distance from you, your children, your pets, your home, or your workplace. It can even force the abuser to move out of your shared home and require him or her to surrender any firearms. If the abuser violates any terms of the protection order, you can call the police and have him or her arrested. You can obtain an EOP based on your testimony alone and without your abuser’s knowledge. Getting a protection order is a crucial step in protecting yourself from further abuse and establishing an official record of your spouse’s abusive behavior.

Protecting Your Financial Future

If you have been the victim of mental, physical, sexual, or emotional abuse, it is very likely that you have also been a victim of financial abuse. One of the best steps you can take when preparing to divorce is to gather copies of important financial documents such as bank statements and tax returns. Take inventory of your valuable possessions or those that are important for personal or sentimental reasons as well. Recording information about your property will help ensure that your spouse cannot hide or destroy assets. It also is an important first step in preventing your spouse from lying about finances during divorce in an effort to sway the divorce settlement in his or her favor.

Contact a St. Charles Divorce Lawyer

Hiring an experienced attorney is highly recommended for anyone who has been a victim of abuse. Your attorney can help ensure that your rights are fully protected throughout the divorce process and that you receive the fair divorce settlement you deserve. At Shaw Family Law, we help victims with everything from protection orders to settlement negotiations to child custody concerns. Schedule a confidential consultation with a skilled Kane County divorce attorney today by calling 630-584-5550.

 

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IL family lawyerOrders of protection, sometimes called restraining orders, are court orders designed to prevent an abusive or harassing individual from further harassing his or her victim. The directions contained in a protection order vary, but many prohibit the person named in the order, the respondent, from contacting or coming within a certain distance of the person who requested the order, called the petitioner. If you or your children are victims of domestic violence, an order of protection may give you the space you need to escape the abusive situation. An order of protection is also a critical step in creating a formal record of the respondent’s harmful actions with the court.

Emergency Orders of Protection Can Be Obtained Without a Hearing

There are three main types of protection orders available in Illinois: an emergency order of protection, interim order of protection, and plenary order of protection. An emergency order of protection (EOP) can be obtained without the respondent’s participation. This is called an 'ex parte' hearing.

To obtain an EOP, you will submit a petition for an emergency order of protection with your local county courthouse. In your petition, explain why you are seeking a protection order and describe the abusive or threatening actions the respondent has committed. An EOP lasts up to 21 days. The order can prohibit the abusive person from coming within a certain distance from or contacting you and/or your children.

The order may also require the person to surrender his or her firearms. The judge can set any other restrictions that he or she finds appropriate. When the court grants an EOP, it also sets a hearing date for a more permanent protection order called a plenary order of protection.

Interim Orders of Protection and Plenary Orders of Protection

A plenary order can last up to two years. You will need to attend a hearing in order to be granted a plenary order of protection. During the hearing, you will need to justify why you are requesting protection from the court. The respondent will have the chance to respond to the accusations leveled against him or her.

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IL custody lawyerWhen the process of a divorce is civil, there is no need for the court to order a partner or parent to stay away from the household. However, when there is domestic violence present in the relationship(s), the victim and/or parent of the victim can petition family court for an order of protection until the divorce process is concluded - or sometimes even further.

Understanding Orders of Protection

Domestic violence is a serious reason why some partners choose to split. However, if the abuser is unhappy about their partner choosing to leave, the abuse can sometimes escalate. If this happens, the victim is encouraged to file for an order of protection which will eliminate contact between victim and abuser during their divorce. This includes:

  • Phone calls
  • Emails
  • Text messages
  • Physical proximity to each other
  • Physical proximity to the victim’s residence
  • Physical proximity to the minor victim’s school or daycare

When there are children involved, the parent may file for an order of protection that includes them so that the abuser does not have contact with the minors during the process if it is believed the children may also be at risk. In Illinois, there are three types of orders which range in duration of non-contact:

  • Emergency orders, which cover a duration of 14 to 21 days.
  • Interim orders, which cover a duration of 30 days.
  • Plenary orders, which cover a maximum of two years.

All orders are able to be extended when the coverage time comes to conclusion. This must be done through the court as well.

Penalties for Violating an Order of Protection

An abuser needs to be knowingly violating the order of protection for a punishment to be given. In this case, the offender will be charged with a Class A misdemeanor. If there are children involved during the violation, the charges are elevated to a Class 4 felony.

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Posted on in Family Law

IL divorce lawyerAn order for protection is commonly known as a restraining order. Through the Illinois court system, one can file various different types of restraining orders based on the threats of violence that they are experiencing. Minors, those under the age of 18, can petition for a restraining order despite not being a legal adult. This is allowed simply because abuse does not discriminate based on age. Teens and women ages 16-24 have the highest risk rate for intimate partner violence. Continue reading to learn what is classified as abuse and which situations can be used to petition for an order for protection.

Types of Restraining Orders

Many incorrectly believe that an order of protection can only be filed if proof of physical abuse is present. Abuse can take many forms such as physical, emotional, and psychological. Anyone who violates orders of protection receives a Class A misdemeanor for the first offense and a Class 4 felony for any other violations. There are various types of restraining orders to accommodate for the different types of abuse that occur.

  1. Domestic Violence and an Order of Protection: This form of restraining order can apply to any living situation. This includes those related by blood or marriage, cohabitants, those who share children, people in romantic relationships, and those who have disabilities.

  2. Sexual Assault and a Civil No Contact Order: For those who have been victims of sexual assault, a civil no-contact order can not only protect the victim but also family/household members of the victim and rape crisis center employees/volunteers.

  3. Stalking and a No Contact Order: This action is for those who fear for their own safety or the safety of another due to someone else’s actions. Action can be taken for threats of stalking or evidence of stalking.

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Posted on in Family Law

b2ap3_thumbnail_domestic-violence_20180918-213803_1.jpgBattered wife syndrome, also known as battered woman syndrome, does not only affect women. It can affect any domestic violence victim, male or female, who lives with an abusive partner. Domestic violence knows no gender.

Despite the law and the medical community recognizing that a person of any gender can perpetuate and suffer domestic violence, the term “battered woman syndrome” is still frequently used to describe the psychological effects domestic violence can have on a victim.

The Stages of Battered Wife Syndrome

When an individual faces domestic violence, he or she can internalize it and feel like he or she caused it to happen. This internalization and sense of responsibility for the violence is battered wife syndrome. Generally, it follows this pattern:

  • Denial. The victim refuses to accept that he or she is being abused;
  • Guilt. The victim recognizes the abuse and feels he or she caused it;
  • Enlightenment. When the victim realizes he or she did not cause the violence to happen, he or she is in the enlightenment stage; and
  • Responsibility. In this stage, the victim recognizes that only his or her abuser is responsible for the violence. This is where the victim leaves the relationship.

Not all victims make it to the enlightenment stage. Many stay in the guilt stage, feeling like they caused their abuse to happen and trying to be better partners to make the violence stop.

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Illinois divorce lawyerDomestic violence is far more than hitting and other forms of physical violence. It can involve psychological and emotional manipulation to maintain control over the victim. In many cases, emotional and psychological abuse occur alongside physical abuse. Other forms of violence, such as financial control and sexual abuse, can also be present.

Below are four forms of psychological abuse that can go unnoticed because they tend to be subtle. Look at the examples provided for each to help yourself determine whether psychological abuse is happening in your household.

Triangulation

Triangulation is a manipulation meant to pit two parties against each other or control the flow of information between two or more parties. It is the use of a third party to relay information to another individual when there is no reason to involve the third party, thus making a “triangle” of communication.

Examples of triangulation include:

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Illinois divorce attorneyWhen a pregnant woman is subjected to domestic violence, she is not the only one who can suffer an injury. The fetus she is carrying at the time of the abuse can suffer in many different ways, some of which do not manifest until after birth.

Pregnancy is stressful for any couple. Sometimes, this stress drives individuals to behave in ways they never behaved before. When violence is already part of a relationship, a pregnancy can cause the violence to become more frequent or more severe. Below are various ways domestic violence can harm a fetus and eventually, a newborn and infant. If you or somebody you know is in an abusive relationship, pregnant or not, it is important that you or the victim exit the relationship safely.

Miscarriage and Stillbirth

Extreme violence can kill a fetus, which can result in a miscarriage or stillbirth. These events can be psychologically traumatizing for a mother. Miscarriages can also put women at risk of suffering physical injuries like excessive bleeding and infection.

Injuries to the Fetus

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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 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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