Domestic 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.