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Divorce and accusations of abuse

On Behalf of | Jun 15, 2022 | Divorce |

A divorce is often a devastating event in someone’s life, where relationships end on a bitter note. This scenario is especially true when there are accusations of abuse and one of the spouses receives a restraining order against the other.

Illinois allows for a no-fault divorce. A spouse who files for divorce is not required to provide a reason for the filing. Neither spouse is required to prove marital misconduct to pursue a divorce.

In the case of irreconcilable differences, a restraining order can be issued with a divorce. A spouse does not have to file for divorce based on abuse or other marital misconduct. There is also no requirement to file criminal charges when requesting a restraining order. The primary purpose of a restraining order is to prevent further abuse, verbal or physical.

Child protection, support, and parenting time

When accusations involve the abuse or neglect of children, the accused spouse may be restricted from contact with the children. The court could allow for supervised visitation.

A parent with a restraining order may be limited in their ability to spend time with their children. A divorce agreement must take any contact limitations with children into consideration.

Division of property

A restraining order does not generally impact the financial aspects of divorce, including the division of property.

Penalties for violating a restraining order

It is important for both spouses to know that any violation of a restraining order can lead to criminal charges. Violation of a restraining order in and of itself is a criminal offense. It does not matter if no abuse occurred or if the spouse protected by the restraining order initiated the contact. The penalties for violating a restraining order include misdemeanor or felony charges, fines, and possible jail time. 

The presence of a restraining order in a divorce makes the process more challenging. Most communication regarding the separation must be between each party’s attorney. 

If the initiating spouse changes their mind, they must ask the court to vacate the order. Only the court that issued the restraining order can terminate it. For this reason, it is important to understand the implications of a restraining order in a divorce proceeding. It can be an effective means of protection, but requesting one from the court should not be done without careful consideration of all associated conditions.