Can You Get a Divorce for Physical Abuse in Illinois?

Updated on October 5, 2023
Updated: September 7, 2023

Can you get a divorce for physical abuse in Illinois? Going through a divorce can be a stressful process, especially if domestic violence is a factor. While domestic violence situations do not serve as a legal basis for divorce, it can impact the property division and asset division process, including marital property and debt, as well as arrangements for alimony and child custody matters.

If you are experiencing physical abuse in a divorce case, consider reaching out to Tommalieh Law in Orland Park, Illinois for a complimentary consultation. Our experienced divorce attorneys have the expertise to assist you in building a strong case to secure the financial compensation and emotional support you need.

Grounds for Divorce in Illinois in Cases Involving Domestic Violence

In Illinois, you do not need to report that you were physically abused in order to get a divorce. Illinois is a no-fault divorce state which means that you just need to claim that the relationship is irreparable in order to get a divorce. The civic court system will analyze your case and by proving domestic violence issues were evident in the divorce case, the case may move to criminal court.  According to the Illinois Domestic Violence Act, domestic violence is classified as a criminal offense and your spouse who abused you can receive criminal charges for breaking the law.

What Constitutes Domestic Violence in Illinois?

In Illinois, domestic violence is defined as any act of violence by one family or household member against another. This includes all types of abuse such as verbal abuse, physical abuse, emotional abuse, financial abuse, and sexual abuse. Physical abuse involves using force to create physical pain or injury in the abuse victim, while emotional abuse consists of threats and intimidation that cause the other person distress.

a couple on the brink of being in a physical domestic dispute

Financial abuse is another form of abuse that includes stealing money or objects belonging to the victim, isolating them economically from family or friends so that they have no access to funds or resources, and creating debts in their name without their consent. Finally, stalking is considered a form of domestic violence—it is when one person harasses another through repeated phone calls and messages, following them around until they feel violated or threatened.

Physical Evidence

Physical evidence serves a very important role in cases of domestic violence. It can be used to provide a critical piece of evidence that confirms there was indeed an incident of intimate partner violence. Physical evidence includes photographs, videotaped recordings of the injuries, doctor and police reports, items used in an assault such as weapons or tools, and often any damaged property. This type of evidence is especially useful if the alleged victim wishes to pursue a criminal conviction against their abuser.

Photographs are crucial physical evidence when it comes to documenting injuries sustained in domestic violence divorce cases. Taking pictures at different stages of healing assists with submitting court documents and helps medical professionals accurately assess any signs of recurrent emotional or physical violence. Videos also play an extremely important role in validating whether or not abuse has taken place and obtaining a criminal conviction for domestic abuse since the footage can capture details such as any physical restraint or obstruction of movement by the abuser that could be missed through photographs alone.

a couple sitting across from each other contemplating their divorce

Doctor reports and medical records serve as further validation from qualified professionals when it comes to assessing injuries inflicted upon victims—especially those who experience prolonged patterns of abuse over long periods of time—and finally, items used in any assaults can tell stories about potential weapons employed during dangerous situations like these. All this collectively contributes to gathering and organizing evidence for your case. 

Eye Witnesses

The testimony of eyewitnesses can be an invaluable resource in cases of domestic violence. These testimonies provide vital evidence that can be used to validate a victim of abuse's account of the violent acts committed against them. 

Eyewitnesses include individuals who have seen the domestic violence occur directly or who may have witnessed the signs leading up to it, such as hearing loud noises coming from within a residence or suspicious behaviors like angry outbursts. For example, police officers responding to an emergency call may not only have personal testimonial evidence but also physical evidence that would prove domestic violence occurred.

How Does Domestic Violence Impact Divorce in Illinois?

In Illinois, divorce is considered a no-fault divorce state, meaning that grounds for divorce are not established solely based on domestic violence. The couple just needs to claim that the relationship is irreparable and the divorce proceeding can take place.

However, if you are a victim of domestic violence, there could be positive impacts for you in terms of the distribution of assets during the divorce process. The presence of domestic violence in a case may result in different outcomes regarding property and debt distribution, alimony, and child custody.

How Does Domestic Violence Impact Property and Debt Distribution in Illinois?

In Illinois, the court system typically uses an equitable distribution standard when dividing property and debt in a divorce. This means that the court will attempt to divide any property and debts in a way that it deems to be fair for both parties. If violence was present in a marriage, then this could have an influence on how the court decides the distribution of assets and liabilities.

Domestic violence may result in the abused spouse not being able to work and bring in income, or receiving lesser wages due to emotional distress caused by the violence. This would lead to subjecting them to economic hardship and removing their ability to contribute financially during times of marriage.

a couple arguing in their living room

The court will also consider if any marital wealth was used by the abuser to pay for expenses related to committing domestic abuse such as bail or legal costs associated with defending criminal charges. As such, victims of domestic violence are often granted a larger share of property or debt than they normally would have under equitable division standards as compensation for these losses.

How Does Domestic Violence Impact Spousal Support in Illinois?

Domestic violence can have a dramatic impact on spousal support in Illinois. When the family court determines an amount of alimony, they consider various factors such as the length of the marriage and each spouse’s income level. However, if one spouse was subjected to domestic violence during the marriage, that may factor into the court’s determination for alimony. In these cases, the abuser may be required to pay maintenance or spousal support to help their partner recover financially.

The needs of the recipient must be considered when deciding how much maintenance should be awarded. If the abused spouse is unable to work due to physical or emotional trauma caused by domestic violence, this can be a basis for awarding higher amounts of alimony in order to ensure that their financial needs are met going forward. The court will also take into account any medical expenses resulting from abuse that were not covered by insurance, and factor these costs into their decision for determining the amount of alimony.

How Does Domestic Violence Impact Child Custody in Illinois?

Domestic violence can have a significant impact on child custody agreements in Illinois. When there is evidence that one parent has been abusive toward the other, the court will take this into consideration when assigning and evaluating child custody arrangements. The main thing that courts wish to ascertain is whether or not such abuse puts children at risk of harm or creates an environment that is unsafe for them.

divorce spelled out in blocks with two wedding rings wrapped around it

This means that if a history of domestic violence exists between the parents, then it is possible for the court to opt to not grant primary custody to that particular parent, or even ensure that supervised visitation is required.

Contact Tommalieh Law Today for a Free Consultation!

A divorce lawyer can provide assistance in building a strong case for your divorce, ensuring that you receive a fair settlement, particularly in cases involving domestic violence. Contact Tommalieh Law today for a free and confidential consultation with one of our experienced family attorneys who can assist you in building a case. Our legal team will ensure that you receive the appropriate financial compensation, emotional support, and assistance in dealing with the aftermath of domestic abuse in your home. 

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