Professional help and careful protections are key in Illinois divorce proceedings involving an abusive spouse. A history of domestic violence adds a layer of danger to the divorce proceedings, putting the victim at risk for manipulation and additional abuse even during the divorce. Understanding the rights put in place by Illinois law, hiring an experienced divorce lawyer, and then taking measures to protect the victim’s best interests are important.
1. Preventing Continued Abuse
An abusive spouse can attempt to continue manipulative behaviors during the divorce, convincing the other spouse to stop the proceedings or pushing for unfair terms. This level of abusive control prevents many victims from leaving an abusive spouse. Getting help from a professional during divorce proceedings can help limit how much manipulation and abuse occurs. Mental health professionals and divorce lawyers can help victims of domestic violence protect their safety and their best interests in a number of ways. They can help victims obtain protection orders when getting divorced to help keep themselves and their children safe. They can help arrange for medical treatment. And they can provide guidance and moral support as the case moves forward.
2. Legal Grounds for Divorce in Illinois
In Illinois, the court can grant a divorce if three factors are in place. First, it must have jurisdiction over the couple. Second, the couple must have proof of a valid marriage. Finally, irreconcilable differences must lead to an irretrievable breakdown of the marriage.
In Illinois, Irreconcilable Differences is the only grounds for divorce. Proving irreconcilable differences is not difficult. If the couple has been living separately for six months or more, the court will assume there are irreconcilable differences. If the couple has not separated, the divorcing spouse must present evidence of the irreconcilable differences, such as records of the abuse.
3. Gathering Documentation Is Important
A person with a history of domestic violence may take action against his or her spouse after divorce papers are filed. Sometimes this includes destroying documents that would make a new, single lifestyle possible. Before filing for divorce, victims need to gather their important papers so the perpetrator does not hide or destroy them. This may include the marriage certificate, social security card, birth certificate, and documents that show financial resources for the couple. Without these, attaining divorce and moving on afterward becomes more challenging and can increase the time it takes to finalize the divorce and increase legal fees.