The Impact of Mutual Domestic Violence on Filing for Divorce in Illinois

Imagine a marriage in which the husband gets drunk and gambles almost every night. He has a distinct pattern of becoming verbally abusive to his spouse after three drinks. After the fifth or sixth drink, the husband always begins throwing things at his wife and screaming at her. The domestic violence progresses until he begins punching his wife on her body, in places where bruises are not visible. One night, the wife decides that she has had enough of this abuse.

After the sixth drink, she takes a frying pan and slams it into her husband’s head from behind. The police arrive and arrest the wife for domestic violence. While she is riding in the back of the police car to the police station, she decides that enough is enough and plans to file for divorce as soon as possible. How do domestic violence charges affect those who file for divorce in Illinois?

Domestic Violence and Property Division

Illinois is an equitable distribution state when it comes to divorce. This means the family court will divide up the property in an equitable and fair manner. When the court has granted an order of protection against the abusive spouse, the court is more likely to protect the financial resources of the abused spouse and protect the marital assets. In the case of the abused spouse, a skilled attorney could petition the court for a restraining order against the abusive husband. The wife would need to argue that the husband’s long history of violence and her recent attempt at self-defense puts her life in imminent danger.

How Does Domestic Violence Affect Child Custody?

One of the reasons women who have suffered extensive abuse do not leave their husbands is that they are afraid of losing custody of their children. Illinois family courts determine child custody based on a variety of factors. However, the main consideration is for the physical and mental safety of the children. Judges also determine who will pay child support based on several factors.

Providing Evidence of Long-Term Abuse

If you have been the victim of long-term domestic abuse and you lashed out on one occasion, all is not lost. You might be worried that one incident of lashing out could jeopardize your future. However, judges are supposed to consider the overall picture of the marriage, including the years or decades of domestic abuse. It can be difficult to relive the suffering and violence, yet it is important to testify as to the extreme mental and psychological abuse you may have endured.

Our Skilled Family Law Attorneys Can Help

Proving domestic violence can be incredibly difficult, especially when there have been one or more episodes of mutual violence. Nonetheless, you will need a skilled attorney to get through the divorce process. At Glasgow & Olsson, we have helped many domestic abuse survivors through the divorce process. Contact our empathetic and skilled divorce attorneys to schedule your free case evaluation and learn how we can help you through this challenging process.

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