Being involved in an abusive marriage is one of the most isolating, overwhelming things a person can go through. When the decision to end it is made, a few key steps must be taken to ensure the abuse victim’s safety and protect his or her financial interests during divorce. Preparation is one of the most important steps in divorcing an abusive spouse. If you are planning to divorce a spouse who has threatened, harassed, or physically harmed you or your children, make sure you understand your rights and options under Illinois law.
Emergency Protection Orders in Illinois
In Illinois, an Emergency Order of Protection (EOP) may be granted to anyone who has experienced abuse, harassment, or threats of physical harm by his or her spouse. An EOP can prohibit the abuser from coming near you, contacting you, or entering your home. It also may grant you temporary custody of children.
Getting a formal protection order is crucial for several reasons. First of all, the abuser may escalate his or her behavior when you attempt to leave the marriage, so keeping your distance from the abusive spouse is essential. Secondly, an EOP is a valuable piece of evidence during a divorce. It acts as a definitive record of the spouse’s behavior and may be used during child custody determination and other divorce matters.
Create a Safety Plan
Your safety plan should include steps like changing your phone number, establishing mail forwarding services, getting an unlisted address, and notifying law enforcement and family members of your situation. The National Domestic Hotline suggests establishing a code word with family and friends to signal distress. So, if your partner is listening to a phone call, you can still ask for help. It is also a good idea to gather items you will want to have if you need to leave your home quickly, such as your cell phone, cell phone charger, medication, social security card and birth certificate, debit and credit cards, cash, and a change of clothing.
Work With a Divorce Lawyer Who Understands Your Situation
Finding the right divorce lawyer is essential for anyone going through a divorce, but it is particularly important if you are divorcing an abusive spouse. Make sure you retain a lawyer with ample experience in high-conflict divorce cases, and situations involving abusive partners. Your lawyer will protect your rights, represent you during any hearings or settlement negotiations, and provide valuable legal advice throughout the divorce case.
By taking steps to protect yourself first, you will be better able to handle the emotional and financial challenges presented by divorce.
Call a DuPage County Child Custody Lawyer
The team at [[title]] understands the complexities of divorcing an abusive spouse, and we are here to help you every step of the way. Call our Wheaton divorce attorneys at [[phone]] for a free, confidential case evaluation.