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chicago divorce lawyerThe Illinois Domestic Violence Act of 1986 defines domestic violence as an act of abuse (harassment, physical abuse, wilful deprivation, intimidation of a dependent, or interference with personal liberty) that is perpetrated against a family or household member. Since 2019, domestic violence cases have increased, leaving many people wondering how they can legally protect themselves and their families. Domestic violence is a serious crime that produces family disharmony and affects healthy childhood development. If you are a victim of domestic abuse and are filing for a divorce, an attorney can help get you the protection you need and show you how abuse can impact your divorce case.  

The Varying Forms Of Abuse 

There are many different forms of abuse used to control and manipulate victims. And not all of them are physically visible. Recognizing signs of abuse is an important step to filing for divorce against an abusive spouse. 

Physical Abuse - Physical abuse is any act of physical violence intended to injure or endanger someone. This can be anything from choking, punching, slapping, pinching, hair pulling, force-feeding drugs or alcohol, and even threatening and hurting your children. Physical abuse is still abuse, even when it does not cause serious harm. Minor violence that does not leave major damage to your physical form, is still abuse. 


chicago divorce lawyerAn unfortunate but common feature of many divorces is accusations of abuse or neglect made by one parent about the other. Sometimes these accusations are legitimate, and sometimes they are made out of hurt, anger, or a desire for vengeance. While parents usually seek what is best for their children, the hostility of divorce can sometimes make it difficult to prioritize a child’s best interests over involvement in adult conflict. 

Sometimes these accusations are made exclusively in divorce court. Other times, however, they are made to outside agencies - Child Protective Services (CPS) in particular. Finding out that you are being investigated by CPS in addition to dealing with the stress and difficulties of divorce can feel insulting and outrageous. Because the stakes are so high, it is important to remain calm and learn what to do in these circumstances and to have the help of an Illinois family lawyer who can guide you. 

Can a CPS Investigation Change the Outcome of a Divorce? 

When someone - even an anonymous tipster - makes an allegation of abuse or neglect about a parent, CPS has a legal obligation to follow up and investigate the allegation. Initial contact from CPS does not necessarily mean there will be a full investigation, but if CPS determines that there is a significant threat of harm to a child, they will launch an investigation quickly. 


chicago divorce lawyerSaying you want to get divorced is one thing, but as anyone who has successfully finalized their divorce knows, agreeing to the complex terms of a divorce with a soon-to-be ex-spouse is another thing entirely. Divorcing couples are required to negotiate and communicate over very sensitive matters during a time in which they could hardly dislike each other more.  

Understandably, therefore, remaining fair and balanced during divorce negotiations is challenging - especially when it feels like so much is at stake. However, couples do not have to manage this process alone. Between their divorce attorneys and other professionals, such as divorce mediators, couples can make it successfully through the divorce process and move on with their lives. 

What Does a Mediator Do? 

Unlike an attorney who advocates from a very biased perspective for a spouse’s best interests, mediators are neutral third parties who are trained in Illinois divorce law and conflict resolution. Their job is to bring a divorcing couple together and help them identify points of conflict, understand their options under Illinois law, and brainstorm possible resolutions. 


chicago divorce lawyerAll couples fight - in fact, relationship experts say that couples who do not fight may be in deeper trouble than those who fight frequently. However, what is key for a healthy relationship is that a couple fights fairly and that they can come back together after facing conflict. 

When you are in a relationship, especially one that involves a lot of conflict, it can be difficult to know just how much conflict - and what kind of conflict - is normal. This is especially true if you grew up in a home with high-conflict parents. If you feel unhappy or unsafe in your marriage, it is important to accurately assess whether you are dealing with marital abuse. Here, we offer some tips from relationship experts to help you determine whether your marital conflict is normal. If you feel it is not, consider scheduling a consultation with an Illinois divorce attorney. 

Normal Marital Conflict vs. Abuse

Equality and fairness are essential in a marriage or domestic partnership. You deserve to feel valued by your partner. While everybody sometimes says things they do not mean in a fight, if your partner regularly makes you feel belittled or devalued, this may be a sign of relationship abuse. 


chicago divorce lawyerAn Illinois divorce has several important issues that must be resolved. If there are minor children, child support and custody schedules need to be decided. The question of whether spousal support should be paid needs to be answered. Finally, couples need to divide the assets and money they have accumulated during their marriage according to Illinois law. 

While some states require spouses to divide their marital estate equally, Illinois requires asset division to be fair, leaving neither spouse with a disproportionate amount of marital assets or marital debt. This means each couple will have a different outcome in their asset division; what worked for your friend or family member may not work for you. Fortunately, most couples find that with respectful negotiation, they can make it through the asset division process and come to an agreement that works for both partners.

Dividing Bank Accounts

Bank accounts are usually among the easiest assets to divide because their value is easily known. If both partners contributed equally to a couple’s savings, regardless of their income, it makes sense to split a savings account equally. If one spouse earned more and contributed more to the savings account, that spouse may be able to negotiate for a greater portion of the funds. 

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