Category Archives: Family Law

Illinois domestic abuse attorneyOne of the best things you can do for yourself and your children if you are in an abusive marriage is to get out and file for divorce. It is a well-settled fact that spousal abuse tends to get worse over time rather than improving. Quite a few people who are facing spousal abuse have not yet identified that what their spouse is doing to them is a form of abuse. While hitting or hurting a spouse is always abuse, there are many different types of spousal abuse. If your spouse is engaged in any form of abuse, your odds of ultimately experiencing physical violence at their hands are increased.

It can be difficult to initiate divorce, and even more difficult to get through the entire process. However, coming out the other side and being free to pursue your own happiness is well worth it. If you are facing abuse, you should always tell your divorce attorney right away so that they can help you take any necessary steps to protect you. 

Spousal Abuse Takes Many Forms

Abuse happens on a spectrum, from milder forms to more severe types. Often, abuse starts out fairly light, and then progresses over time. Some of the forms that spousal abuse may take include: 

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illinois divorce lawyerIn a perfect world, divorcing couples would agree to go their separate ways after a calm, even-handed negotiation over property division, spousal support, and child custody. Doing so would save everyone from the time, money, and emotional distress that are spent in spades on divorce courtroom litigation. 

Illinois courts recognize the importance of trying to negotiate divorce issues peacefully and will encourage and even mandate some couples to attend mediation in an effort to avoid litigation. Nevertheless, not all divorce trials are avoidable, and sometimes, a court must intervene and make decisions on behalf of a couple. This is particularly likely in cases involving spousal or child abuse, financial duplicity, or in high-conflict, high-profile divorces. Here is a brief overview of what to expect if your divorce goes to trial. 

Illinois Divorce Trials

Divorce trials in Illinois are heard by one judge who is the finder of fact and the ultimate decision-maker. Generally, spouses are the only witnesses, although they may call expert witnesses in certain situations. Each spouse is entitled to their own legal representation and it is generally not advisable to represent yourself, especially if your spouse has an attorney. 

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b2ap3_thumbnail_shutterstock_759326239-1-min.jpgMaking compromises during divorce negotiations is difficult and bound to result in dissatisfaction on the part of most spouses. This is especially true when some or all of the issues in the divorce are decided by a judge, rather than by a couple negotiating the terms themselves. When someone feels like their divorce decree is unfair or even goes against Illinois family law, he or she may want to appeal the decree to see if some or all of it can be overturned. 

While it is important to maintain a hopeful perspective, it is also important to be realistic. Divorce appeals are rarely successful because they are predicated on the appeals court finding that the lower court made an error in applying the law. However, sometimes divorce decrees can be appealed, and if you are considering trying to appeal yours, it is important to know how the appeals process works.

When is it Appropriate to Try to Appeal a Divorce Decree? 

If everyone who was unhappy with their divorce decree could appeal, the higher courts would be clogged with petitions from recently divorced individuals hoping for a better marital asset distribution or more parenting time. But a divorce decree cannot be appealed for just any reason, no matter how biased a spouse may think it is. 

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Illinois child support lawyerWhile women may be entering the workforce more than ever (and often outearning their spouses in the process), many families still opt to have one parent stay at home while their children are very young. The high cost of childcare, a desire to spend a child’s most tender years together, or a simple lack of available local options may make a stay-at-home parent not only desirable but necessary. 

But there is no question that, especially in unhealthy marriages, a spouse who does not earn an income of her own can be put at a disadvantage when it comes time to divorce. When one or both spouses decide the marriage is at an end, the spouse who has spent the last many years being a full-time parent may feel panic, fear, or confusion about how they will be able to pay for an Illinois divorce. For homemaker spouses getting a divorce, here are five tips that may help you manage your finances more easily. 

Seek Child Support and Spousal Maintenance (Alimony)

Judges are willing to award some spouses interim child support and spousal maintenance, which is alimony while the divorce is ongoing. This can ensure the non-working spouse and the children are not left homeless and hungry before the divorce is finalized. However, spousal maintenance tends not to be awarded as much or for as long as it used to be, so do not depend on long-term spousal maintenance to support yourself after divorce. 

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dupage county divorce lawyerVictims of domestic abuse, whether it be physical or emotional, are often afraid to leave their spouses. Unfortunately, research suggests these concerns are well-founded, as victims tend to be at the greatest risk when they try to end an abusive relationship. In cases like this, victims may wonder if they can file for a divorce on their own, without alerting their spouse first. Fortunately, the answer is yes. If you need help filing for divorce in Illinois and are worried about your spouse finding out, our attorneys can discreetly work with you to protect your privacy. 

Attorney-Client Privilege

Many people have heard about the attorney-client privilege in a courtroom drama TV series or novel, but not many people understand the nature of this highly privileged relationship. The confidence between an attorney and her client is so privileged that an attorney cannot be called to testify against her client in court, even after she no longer represents the client. Attorneys who violate attorney-client privilege can face serious consequences, including disbarment. The attorney-client privilege continues even if the attorney or the client ends their relationship or if either party passes away. An attorney will absolutely not reveal details of her client’s case to the client’s spouse. 

Serving a Spouse Divorce Papers 

Eventually, a spouse will find out about a divorce filing because he or she will need to be served with divorce papers. This happens after the first spouse has completed the necessary paperwork and filed for divorce. If necessary, an attorney can work to time an emergency order of protection with the likely service date of divorce papers so the responding spouse has limited warning and limited opportunity to retaliate against the spouse who filed.

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