Divorce can result from many different issues, but one of the most serious thing s that may cause a divorce is domestic violence. Domestic violence can take many different forms, and many people do not understand what is currently considered domestic abuse. The issue of domestic violence affects people of all genders, and people who suspect that they may be be victims of it should understand the definition. They should also understand their options in the event that they choose to seek a divorce from their partner.
What Is Domestic Abuse
Domestic abuse is a term that has different meanings for different people. The National Domestic Violence Hotline has a variety of different behaviors for different situations. In a sense, all of the behaviors relate to a person's controlling, possessive aspects. However, there are certain things that a partner may do that can trigger concerns about domestic abuse. These include:
- Physical violence such as choking, hitting, slapping or beating;
- Threats of intimidation of physical violence;
- Shaming or embarrassment, which can include demeaning remarks to your friends, their friends, or even your children;
- Undue control of the finances, such as issuing an overly strict budget or tracking every flow of money that leaves the household; or
- the destruction of property or threats to harm personal property or pets.
In general, domineering threats or overly controlling behaviors can constitute domestic violence in some circumstances. This lay definition tracks fairly well with the definition of abuse set out in the Illinois Domestic Violence Act of 1986, which defines abuse as “physical abuse, harassment, intimidation of a dependent, interference with personal liberty or willful deprivation.”
Options for Victims of Domestic Abuse
People suffering from domestic abuse can often find it difficult to leave their partner. It is normal to experience fear that the partner may retaliate or that they are too isolated to leave. If someone with an abusive spouse does want a divorce, the law can provide some protection. The precise method may vary depending on particular circumstances, but one of the most common is the temporary restraining order (TRO). TROs are legal documents that restrict the abusive spouse or partner's rights in order to protect the abused one. The restrictions can include things like limitations on where the abuser may be or it may prohibit certain behaviors. TROs can also mandate positive behaviors on the part of the abuser, such as requiring them to attend counseling. The law provides a wide range of powers to TROs in order to ensure that they properly fit the situation.
Domestic violence is a serious issue that can be difficult to face. If you believe your spouse is abusing you, and you have made the decision to leave, contact an experienced DuPage County family law attorney