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What Can I Do If I Am Facing Domestic Abuse During the Illinois Stay-at-Home Order?Unfortunately, a high number of Americans are victims of abuse in their own homes. No spouse, significant other, family member, or child should be subjected to domestic violence, yet many struggle to survive at home. Recognizing this domestic violence epidemic is especially relevant during these unprecedented times. With Illinois stay-at-home orders still in place, many domestic violence victims are finding themselves unable to escape their perpetrators. Luckily, the state of Illinois has taken action to help those who find themselves in these unfortunate situations.

Support During COVID-19

Since March, Illinoisians have been asked to remain within their homes to help reduce the spread of COVID-19. While this allows some people a chance to spend much needed time with family members, those in abusive living conditions no longer have the time or space to get away from their abuser. Illinois has recognized this apparent issue and addressed domestic violence survivors in the details of its stay-at-home order. Illinois was one of the 17 states that listed domestic violence survivors and those seeking physical safety as exempt from the stay-at-home order. The state even went so far as to list domestic violence shelters and employees as essential businesses and workers.

Obtaining an Order of Protection in Will County

Another issue that many victims have seen in these past few months is courts closing or restricting their case numbers. Many of these courts closed their doors until the beginning of June, Will County included. This presented a problem for those looking to file for an order of protection during those early weeks of the pandemic. This problem has since been mitigated as the Will County court system reopened on June 1. Though still restricting the number of cases allowed in court, Will County courts are hearing most of their family law cases through virtual means. However, domestic abuse cases may be deemed necessary to be seen in the courthouse due to the severity and urgency of the situation. This is under the discretion of the judge, but regardless, Orders of protection can be filed during the pandemic. If your case does happen in person, the following precautions have been put in place:

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What Can I Do If I Suspect My Child is Being Abused By Their Other Parent?A parent’s main priority is to protect their child, even if that means taking them away from their other parent. According to Childhelp, a report of child abuse is made every 10 seconds, and most abusers are family members or others close to your child. Whether you were never married, are filing for divorced, or are recently divorced, it is crucial to alert authorities if you suspect your co-parent of abuse. It can be uncomfortable and difficult to present your fears to the court, but this is the only way for you to take action for your child and protect them from their own parent. Courts typically lean towards keeping both parents in children’s lives, and it is a rare occurrence for a judge to give sole custody to one parent. However, accusations of violence and abuse make courts think twice about their parental responsibilities determinations to protect the child from harm.

Warning Signs of Abuse

The fear of making a false accusation of abuse is often enough to keep parents silent about their suspicions. If parents are not married and do not live under the same roof, it can be difficult for them to identify abuse with certainty. Look for the following signs in your child if you suspect that they are being subjected to abuse:

  • Extremely withdrawn, anxious, or fearful about making a mistake or doing something wrong
  • Frequent, unexplained injuries, welts, bruises, or cuts
  • Shying away from touch or flinching at sudden movements
  • Difficulties sitting or walking
  • Wearing inappropriate clothing for the type of weather (long sleeves on a hot day)

Possible Outcomes

There are a few ways that the court may address the accusations in order to protect your child. Depending on the evidence at hand, the court may be able to provide an immediate response and change to your parenting agreement. If you are divorced, this is known as post-divorce modifications. What the judge will likely decide as their initial response is to require supervised visitation for your child’s other parent. This means that they will continue to see your child but always have a designated supervisor present. This will allow the court to monitor their activity together and protect the child from any abuse that may occur behind closed doors. Depending on the extent of the abuse and the parent’s ability to keep a relationship with the child, the court will try to keep both parents in their lives to some extent.

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Unfortunately, domestic violence is all too common in the United States and across the world. According to the data from the Illinois Coalition Against Domestic Violence, one in three women and one in seven men are victims of domestic violence. Many believe that women are the only victims of abuse, but this is not the case. Though more women suffer from abusive relationships, men are not excluded from this unfortunate reality. Abuse includes more than just physical violence against another person — there are many types of abuse and knowing the tell-tale signs is a good way to make sure that you are not in an unhealthy, toxic relationship.

Identifying Abuse

  • It can be difficult for those who are not in abusive relationships to understand why someone who is in one would remain in one. The emotional connection that one has with their partner, even if they are abusive, is often enough for someone to stay with a partner who does not treat them like they should. For some, they may not know the signs of abuse and think that they are blowing things out of proportion — no one wants to admit that they are in an unhealthy relationship, so some ignore these signs even if they know that they are there. The following are signs of an abusive partner:
  • Constantly tells you that you never do anything right
  • Discourages or prevents you from seeing your friends and family
  • Demeans, insults, or shames you consistently
  • Has control over your finances
  • Controls who you spend your time with, where you go, and what you do
  • Acts in ways that scare you
  • Intimidates you with their words or actions, including threats with weapons

I Need Protection

In many cases, ending an abusive relationship can be emotionally and physically difficult. Identifying that you are in a toxic relationship is the first step to moving forward, but rarely does an abusive partner let the person go based on their word. This can lead the abused partner into dangerous situations. In order to combat possible threats or violence, Illinois offers family or household members the opportunity to obtain orders of protection. Commonly known as a restraining order, protective orders may do the following:

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Tips for Divorcing a Spouse With a Substance Abuse Problem in IllinoisAlthough most people who get married enter into their union thinking it will last “til death do us part,” that is not what statistics show. Approximately 40 to 50 percent of all marriages end in divorce in the United States. There are many reasons that can cause a couple to file for divorce. Issues such as infidelity, financial problems, and drug or alcohol addiction can all put a significant strain on any relationship. Illinois is a no-fault state, which means that a couple must only have “irreconcilable differences” as grounds for divorce. However, when one spouse has a substance abuse problem, this can make the divorce process very challenging. That is why it is essential that you plan ahead and take steps to protect your rights before filing for divorce from an addicted spouse. 

Taking Precautions to Protect Yourself

Excessive drug and alcohol use can lead to many problems and negatively impact a family as well. When someone drinks or uses drugs, he or she may become violent by physically or verbally abusing his or her spouse and children. The abusive partner may also squander the couple’s savings to fund his or her addiction. 

Although every situation is unique, there are certain decisions that still need to be made in an Illinois divorce, regardless of the reasons for splitting up. These include the allocation of parental responsibilities and child support if children are involved, as well as spousal support and the division of property or assets. All of these issues may be impacted by the fact that one party has a substance abuse problem. For example, a parent may be required to have supervised visitation or denied parenting time altogether if it is proven that it is in the best interest of the children. 

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Will County child custody attorney

When parents are in the middle of a battle over the allocation of parental responsibilities, the state of affairs can be intense. In some cases, the parenting dispute can result in one parent taking the child without the consent and knowledge of the other parent or the court. Despite their status as a legal parent, this still qualifies as “kidnapping” or “child abduction” and can turn a civil case into a criminal case with harsh consequences for the offending parent.

Child Abduction

Kidnapping is a felony in Illinois, and a conviction can result in fines, probation and jail time. An individual will be charged with child abduction when he/she does one of the following: 

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