When Domestic Violence Is a Factor in Your Divorce

Domestic violence matters are frequently in the news these days because of some high-profile cases involving professional football players. If you are planning to divorce, the ramification of similar events in your marriage is important to consider.

Much domestic violence goes unreported, but if you have been a victim of abuse, it is critical to think of the risk it poses to you and your children during the divorce process. Illinois’ definition doesn’t limit itself to physical violence - threats, harassment, intimidation and willful deprivation of necessities are all considered forms of domestic violence by the state.

If you fear for your immediate safety, the best course of action may be to file a temporary restraining order. This prohibits your spouse from coming near you and possibly calling, emailing or contacting you via social media. If your children are determined to be at risk, a restraining order can also impose custodial and visitation restrictions on your spouse.

However, it is also possible that these visitation rights won’t be restricted at all. As is true of any element of a divorce, the court system puts the children’s best interests first. If the judge determines that the other parent doesn’t pose a threat, visitation may be allowed to continue. But the threshold for posing a serious threat is high, so these rights are usually only revoked in extreme circumstances.

A temporary restraining order does not have a permanent effect on your custody arrangement. It may be modified temporarily, but any permanent changes must be made outside the scope of the restraining order.

If domestic violence is a factor before, during or after your divorce, it’s important to secure dependable legal counsel to protect your rights and best interests. Consult an experienced divorce attorney in Chicago right away. 

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