Help for Domestic Violence Victims in Chicago

Protecting yourself and your children from abuse

Your home is supposed to be a safe haven. If, however, you are the victim of domestic violence or abuse in Chicago, you know that your home no longer feels safe. Domestic violence victims need to take action to protect themselves and their children. Fortunately, Illinois family law may give you the means to remove yourself from an abusive marriage or relationship, obtain physical and legal protection and solidify your custody rights over your children. At Downs Law Offices, our doors are open to domestic violence victims who want to remove themselves from abusive relationships. Our attorneys can assist you in obtaining a divorce, order of protection and custody of your children.

What is domestic abuse?

Domestic abuse encompasses more than just physical violence. While physical violence is the most serious and critical form of domestic abuse, psychological abuse can be just as damaging if carried out consistently over a period of time. Examples of psychological abuse include:

  • Exploitation
  • Harassment
  • Intimidation
  • Interference with personal liberty
  • Willful deprivation
  • Stalking

A spouse or partner who threatens you, pervasively insults you, violates your privacy or exercises excessive control over you is committing psychological abuse. If you are the victim of such abuse, you may be able to obtain an order of protection under the Illinois Domestic Violence Act. An experienced family attorney can then help you gather and present the evidence you need to have that order extended or made permanent.

How can domestic abuse affect a divorce or custody dispute?

Most types of spousal abuse fall under the definition of cruelty and can serve as fault grounds for divorce. Generally, fault does not play a factor in deciding issues such as equitable distribution of property or alimony. However, if the abuse was so severe that it adversely affected your earning capacity, it may have an indirect impact. The presence of fault grounds can, however, help you get a divorce without waiting the two years required for irreconcilable differences.

More importantly, the presence of physical or emotional abuse can play a huge role in child custody determinations. Courts often deny joint custody to abusive parents, instead relegating them to visitation only. In many cases, the court may direct that such visitation be supervised. In very serious cases, the court may deny visitation altogether, especially if the child witnessed the abuse or was the victim.

If you have been the victim of domestic abuse, our attorneys at Downs Law Offices may be able to help you assert your rights and gain the protection and freedom you need from your spouse or partner. With more than 50 years of combined family law experience, our lawyers have handled divorces and custody matters involving domestic violence throughout the Chicago area.

Fighting for your safety and peace of mind

Call our office today at 312-781-1963 or contact us online to schedule a confidential consultation to discuss your situation and how we can help. The Downs Law Offices are conveniently located on the Loop, with onsite parking and convenient access to public transportation.