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North Aurora family law attorney child custody

Even under the best of circumstances, divorce is difficult and stressful. While it is true that going through a divorce with an agreeable spouse can be much less taxing, both emotionally and financially, any divorce has the potential to become a high-conflict divorce. This is especially true when domestic violence is involved in a divorce, which is, unfortunately, not all that uncommon. Exposure to domestic violence and abusive behaviors have been proven to negatively impact children and even increase the chances that the children will exhibit abusive behaviors in adulthood. Because of this, Illinois takes accusations of domestic violence very seriously, especially as the situation pertains to child-related issues such as parenting time.

Determining Parenting Time With an Abusive Spouse 

Every decision a judge makes in Illinois is done after carefully considering all factors pertaining to the child’s best interest. According to the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA), the judge assigned to a case will make decisions about parenting time based on the presumption that spending time with both parents is in the child’s best interest. If there is abuse or domestic violence present in the household, you need to be sure to bring that to the judge’s attention so the court can address the issue appropriately.


North Aurora divorce attorney property division

When a marriage breaks down, it is rare that the two spouses still want to live in the same home together, let alone spend time in the same room with one another. However, many couples still try to reside under one roof while their divorce is underway, especially if there are children involved. However, this can become difficult if things turn sour or if you and your spouse are not on good terms when you begin the divorce. Unless you and your spouse qualify and file for a simplified dissolution and agree on all issues, you will have to negotiate the terms of your divorce. This process can be extremely stressful for couples who do not communicate well or who cannot cooperate with one another. In extreme cases, either spouse can petition to have exclusive possession of the marital home. 

What Does Being Granted “Exclusive Possession” of the Marital Home Mean?

During your divorce, you and your spouse both have the right to request to have exclusive possession of your marital home, but only until the divorce is finalized and only under certain circumstances. Typically, these circumstances have to be extreme. You must be able to prove that either you or your children's’ physical or mental well-being is in jeopardy by having both you and your spouse live there. The court will then conduct a hearing to determine the best course of action. In some cases, entering into a temporary eviction from the marital residence for one of the spouses can be a solution to the issues in the household. The spouse who is temporarily evicted is not always the spouse who keeps the home, as property division is an entirely different process.


Geneva divorce attorney parenting time

One of the most serious and unfortunately still prevalent social issues that families face today is domestic violence. Dealing with domestic violence in any situation is never simple, but having to cope with domestic violence during a divorce can make the divorce process a million times more stressful. According to information from the National Domestic Violence Hotline, more than 12 million men and women are affected by acts of domestic violence each year in the United States. Many people believe that domestic violence consists of purely physical acts, such as slapping or choking. However, domestic violence is really about control, rather than pain, so the abuser will often use multiple tactics to control the victim, including other forms of abuse, such as emotional abuse, sexual abuse, or harassment. This is why it is crucial for families experiencing domestic abuse to get help from an experienced Illinois divorce attorney before beginning the process.

Divorce and Child-Related Issues

Like most things during the divorce, issues related to the children are typically settled with an agreement made between the parents. However, in some situations, such as those in which domestic violence is present in the home, the parents may be unable or unwilling to cooperate or come to a consensus with a parenting time plan or allocation of parental responsibilities. This is when a judge will step in and make decisions for the parents in regard to Illinois law and what is in the child’s best interests.


domestic violence, DuPage County family law attorneyFalse accusations of domestic violence are, sadly, all too common in family law cases. Such allegations are problematic for a number of reasons. First, they undermine legitimate efforts by organizations throughout the country to prevent and eliminate the very real problem of domestic abuse that occurs in many families. Of course, false accusations also create serious issues for the person who has been accused. If that person is you, it is important to understand what you can do in family court to defend yourself.

Protective Orders and Temporary Restraining Orders

Victims and purported victims of domestic violence in Illinois are able to apply for an emergency protective order or a temporary restraining order without any advance notice to the alleged abuser. If the court finds that the victim is currently in danger and immediate action is required to keep him or her safe, an order of protection will be issued. Once the order is issued, a law enforcement officer will serve a copy of the order on the alleged abuser.


Posted on in Divorce

domestic violence, DuPage County divorce attorneyThere are many reasons why a dissolution of marriage becomes necessary. Spouses grow apart, partners fall out of love, and individuals change their life goals. Occasionally, divorce becomes necessary for safety reasons if one spouse is abusive. Although Illinois is a no-fault state and anyone can divorce, it is important to understand how domestic abuse in a marriage can affect the outcome of the divorce proceedings.

Married Without Children

Any type of abuse that occurs between romantic partners or spouses is considered domestic violence or abuse. The law defines domestic abuse as:


gaslighting, DuPage County divorce lawyerOctober is Domestic Awareness Month, and it is important to note that domestic violence is not limited to physical actions like hitting and kicking. In many cases, emotional abuse or psychological abuse can be just as destructive as physical abuse, and can certainly lead to the breakdown of a marriage. In fact, for many years, repeated mental or emotional cruelty was considered grounds for divorce in Illinois. While all divorces in the state must now be on the no-fault grounds of irreconcilable differences, it is still important to be able to recognize such victimization when it occurs. One type of this emotional abuse is referred to as “gaslighting.”

Does your partner often deny any knowledge of events or conversations that you know took place? On the opposite end, does he or she insist things happened which did not? Does he or she accuse you of misremembering past events? Does your partner ever insist that you said or did something of which you have no relocation? If so, you may be a victim of gaslighting.

What is Gaslighting?


emergency order of protection, DuPage County family lawyerDespite decades of public awareness campaigns, physical violence and other forms of domestic violence continue to plague millions of families throughout the state and around the country. While the state of Illinois no longer recognizes any “at-fault” grounds for divorce, domestic violence still remains a major consideration within family law, as allegations and proven behavior can directly impact a parent’s suitability for parental responsibilities and time with his or her children. Proceedings for allocating parental responsibilities and parenting time, however, may play out over the course of weeks and months, so what can a victimized person do in the meantime? In some situations, an emergency order of protection may be the appropriate first step.

Filing for an Emergency Order of Protection

Sometimes known as a restraining order, an emergency order of protection is a court-issued directive that limits or restricts the behavior of an alleged abuser. An abuser who violates an order of protection is subject criminal prosecution for the violation, in addition to any other illegal actions he or she commits in the process.


domestic violence, Aurora family law attorney, child custody, Generation Y, cycle of violence cycle of domestic violence, protection from domestic violence, violent behaviorThe incidence of domestic violence (DV) remains with us more than ever. In fact, the 2013 Mary Kay Truth About Abuse Survey indicated a serious spread of the problem to Generation Y, reporting that shelters are serving more women, and women with children, specifically between the ages of 18 and 32. And those who were in shelters as children are now personally seeking protection from domestic violence themselves. Sadly, these findings show how the cycle of domestic violence is ongoing.

Each year, over one million women are victims of physical assault by an "intimate partner." However, only one in four reports the crime. And the key to the spread of domestic violence revolves in the fact that 30-60 percent of those who abuse a partner target the children as well. Noted by The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, "Witnessing violence between one’s parents or caretakers is the strongest risk factor of transmitting violent behavior from one generation to the next." In fact, a boy who witnesses domestic violence is twice as likely, as an adult, to abuse his partner and children.

Thus the message is clear: If you are in an abusive relationship, it is essential to seek immediate help, remove any children from the situation, and ultimately acquire long-term protection. However, in regards to short-term protection, hotlines are available including The National Domestic Violence Hotline via 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) and Safe Horizon Hotline via 1-800-621-HOPE (4673).


For most people, the holidays are a time of celebration, and something to look forward to. For some, however the stress of planning get-togethers, buying presents, and the general hustle and bustle of the season can prove to be too much. According to police, domestic violence calls increase dramatically during the holidays.

Each year, nearly 44,000 adults seek relief from domestic violence in Illinois, though only a small percentage is able to receive shelter. The requests for services increase dramatically during and after the holidays. During the holiday season, people feel an immense amount of pressure. Many families suffer financial strain while attempting to buy presents for their children, and when this is combined with close quarters with visiting families and increased alcohol consumption it can lead to a volatile situation. In some cases, physical violence is the result. Many other families report an increase in the amount of emotional abuse that occurs.

According to Sojourn Shelter Chief Executive Officer Angela Bertoni, that may not be the only reason for the increased instances of domestic violence during the holidays, either. In a recent interview with Fox Illinois, she stated that many victims choose to return to their abusers during the holidays because they feel pressured to spend time with family. Shelters cannot refuse victims who want to leave, though they do encourage them not to return to abusive situations.

The Law Office of Matthew M. Williams, P.C.


1444 North Farnsworth Avenue, Suite 307, Aurora, IL 60505

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