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Kane County family law attorneysFebruary is National Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month. Sadly, many teenagers, as well as adults, are in abusive relationships, whether it is within a romantic relationship or with a family member. Victims may be afraid to leave these dangerous situations for various reasons. However, Illinois law allows victims to file for orders of protection to keep themselves and their children safe. Sometimes called a restraining order, an order of protection is a court order that prohibits an alleged abuser from approaching or contacting his or her victim. If an individual violates the terms of the order, he or she can face serious legal consequences. If you or your loved one is concerned for your safety, it is imperative to hire an experienced family law attorney who can help you file and enforce a protective order.      

Illinois Domestic Violence Act

According to the Illinois Domestic Violence Act of 1986, domestic violence is a crime. Any person who hits, kicks, chokes, harasses, or interferes with the personal liberty of a family or household member has broken the law. Fortunately, if you are the victim of abuse, you can file for a restraining order to prevent the alleged abuser from contacting you or your children. 

A typical restraining order will do the following:

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Kane County divorce attorneysPeople often say that a marriage is hard work. Once the “honeymoon” phase is over, being married can be challenging for various reasons. Even if two spouses love each other, life circumstances can get in the way of living happily ever after. For example, a job loss or the death of a loved one can cause one partner to turn to alcohol or drugs as a remedy. In other cases, someone may become addicted to shopping, gambling, or pornography as a way of coping with stress. Regardless of the root cause of an addiction, this type of behavior can destroy a marriage and ultimately lead to divorce. If you are thinking about divorcing your spouse who has an addiction problem, it is important to know how to protect yourself emotionally and financially.  

Irreconcilable Differences

In Illinois, the only recognized “grounds” or reason for divorce is “irreconcilable differences.” This means the marriage has deteriorated without hope for reconciliation. Therefore, abusing drugs or alcohol cannot be the official reason to file for divorce, but it can definitely contribute to the breakdown of a relationship. When a couple has children together, addiction can put a significant strain on the family. In some cases, alcoholism can lead to physical or verbal abuse. Attempts at rehab or therapy may have failed to resolve the problem. A parent may feel he or she has no choice but to leave the marriage in order to protect him or herself as well as his or her child’s best interests. Even though it is not a legal prerequisite, if a couple has been separated for at least six months, that typically proves they have irreconcilable differences.

Protecting Yourself

Once you have decided to leave your addicted partner, there are a few things you can do to help prepare for the divorce process. In many divorce cases involving an addict, the two spouses do not agree on how to divide marital property or assets. For these situations, the court will consider many factors to determine the allocation of parental responsibilities or parenting time. Overnight stays may not be granted, or a judge can order supervised visitation for the parent who has a substance abuse problem.

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Algonquin family law attorneysThere is an old saying that no one really knows what goes on behind closed doors. This adage applies to many marriages, where outward appearances can be deceiving. A couple who seems to have it all -- healthy kids, big house, fancy cars -- may in reality be dysfunctional and miserable. Domestic abuse is a serious problem that often leads to divorce and the breakup of a family. Under Illinois law, domestic violence is considered a crime. However, it does not just occur between married couples. 

Anyone who hits, kicks, chokes, threatens, harasses, or interferes with the personal liberty of a family or household member has broken the Illinois Domestic Violence law. These members include married spouses, blood relatives, romantic partners, roommates who share or shared a common dwelling, and even disabled individuals and their caretakers. Luckily, victims of domestic abuse and other forms of financial abuse can petition the court for special protections, known as orders of protection.    

Reasons for Seeking Protective Orders

Sometimes called a restraining order, an order of protection is a court-issued directive that can be entered against an alleged abuser. The court may enter this kind of protective order when an individual fears for his or her own safety (or that of his or her children’s) because of actual or threatened abuse by a family or household member. This type of order generally restricts what the abuser can do, such as coming into physical contact with the victim, and harassing or stalking the victim electronically. 

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Kane County family law attorneyDomestic violence does not discriminate. It can happen to men, women, and even children of socioeconomic status. Studies suggest that up to 10 million children witness some form of domestic violence each year. In many cases, an abusive relationship can lead to a divorce. However, in some cases, violent behavior by one spouse can continue throughout the divorce process and long after. The Illinois Domestic Violence Act (IDVA) provides safety provisions for survivors of domestic violence and their children by holding their abusers accountable in the criminal and civil courts. This can be done by court orders, but it is important to know how to obtain such protections and how long they are in effect. 

What Can Protective Orders Do?

In Illinois, there are certain actions a victim can take against his or her alleged abuser. A protective order can restrict or limit certain actions a person can and cannot do. Often referred to as a “restraining order,” it can prohibit an individual from harassing or harming the victim as well as forbid any contact or coming within a certain distance of the alleged victim. 

To obtain such an order, a person must file a petition for an order of protection. In the petition, the accuser must explain to the court why he or she wants an order of protection. If the court believes the person has been abused or is imminent danger of abuse, a judge will issue an order of protection. Below are the three types of Illinois protective orders and the amount of time for which they are in effect: 

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Kane County family law attorneysThe National Domestic Violence Hotline (NDVH) received its five millionth call in May of this year. This statistic shows how prevalent domestic violence can be in relationships. In many cases, the victimized person may fear for his or her safety on a daily basis. However, he or she may also be afraid to leave an abusive spouse or partner. Domestic violence can take many different forms. These can include physical harm, verbal threats or harassment, and more. Sometimes making that first call for help is the most difficult step in the process to escape an abusive situation. It is important to understand what behavior constitutes abuse so you can recognize it and seek legal orders of protection. 

Illinois Domestic Violence Law

Domestic violence is considered a crime in Illinois. Any individual who hits, kicks, chokes, harasses, threatens, or interferes with the personal liberty of another family or household member violates the Illinois Domestic Violence law. Illinois law defines family or household members as:

  • Family members who are related by blood;
  • A married or divorced couple;
  • People who share or previously resided in the same home;
  • People who have a child in common;
  • People who are current or former dating or engaged partners; and
  • People with disabilities and their caretakers.
  • Forms of Domestic Abuse

Although physical abuse is the most recognizable form of domestic violence, it is just one of many forms of it. Domestic violence encompasses:

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