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How can domestic violence allegations affect divorce?

Divorce can be a stressful, emotional event. And certain factors make it even more challenging. Such can be the case if you are divorcing someone with a violent or abusive past.

Under these circumstances, it can be helpful to know how these allegations can affect the process and outcome of a divorce, and how you can protect yourself and your family.

Approach to resolving disputes

If your soon-to-be-ex has abused, threatened, or harmed you or your children, peaceful divorce methods like mediation may not be appropriate. In this environment, it can be impossible for two people to find common ground and reach reasonable solutions together.

Further, if you are divorcing a volatile, violent person, you can take extra precautions to keep yourself safe. Such measures could include shielding your contact information from the other party and securing an order of protection, which can place numerous restrictions on the abuser.

Child custody and visitation

If the courts believe that a parent poses a threat to a child, they may not grant custody or visitation to that parent. That said, an isolated incident in the past may not dramatically affect his or her parental rights.

If you are worried about your child’s safety, be sure you keep track of all violent or abusive incidences, including calls to the police and visits to the hospital for injuries.

Financial matters

Depending on the severity and type of violence or abuse in a relationship, it could impact financial settlements. Because Illinois is an equitable distribution state, courts could find it fair to award more property to the victim, particularly in financial abuse cases.

If you seek spousal maintenance in your divorce, abuse can be one of the many factors courts weight when determining whether to award maintenance, how much to award and for how long.

It can also be crucial for victims of abuse to secure their access to marital and separate funds during the divorce.

Getting help to get through this process

Considering all the ways in which domestic violence and abuse can affect the divorce process and outcomes, it is vital for victims to have advocates behind them. There is no need to go through this alone; having emotional support, financial guidance and legal representation can make it easier to navigate this situation and work toward a happier future.

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