These difficult times might have revealed many issues and vulnerabilities within marriages, leaving some couples wondering whether divorce might be a good option for them. However, there are other couples who might be dealing with even more problematic situations involving accusations of domestic violence. Since Governor Pritzker issued the original Stay-at-Home Order in Illinois, reports of domestic violence across the state have spiked. Here is an analysis of some of the most common ways that these challenging times have led to such increases in domestic abuse reports:
5 Reasons Domestic Violence Cases May Increase
In some parts of the country, there have been fewer reported cases of domestic violence and abuse during this public health crisis. However, in many regions throughout Illinois, reports of such cases have actually increased. This may be due to an increased potential for conflicts within most homes, including:
Difficulties Related to Being Forced to Stay at Home Together—This public health crisis has forced couples and families to spend much more time alone together than they are accustomed to. In addition to increasing minor irritations, forced proximity can exacerbate existing relationship problems, and arguments or conflicts may become heated, leading to accusations of domestic violence.
Financial Stress—Many people have lost their jobs over the last few months. Not being able to pay the bills can cause a great deal of stress within a household, and this can lead to an increased level of conflict that may cause family members to feel unsafe.
Increased Drug and Alcohol Use and Abuse—People who are required to stay at home have more time on their hands to participate in behavior that may be seen as unhealthy, and the loss of a job or other stresses can lead some to engage in substance abuse. Increased use of alcohol or drugs may lead other family members to fear for their safety while at home.
Higher Rates of Domestic Violence During Disasters—Even though this particular crisis is unprecedented, at least in modern times, history has shown that other similar disasters frequently lead to spikes in domestic violence cases.
Increased Anxiety—Most everyone is anxious about what has been going on in our world these days. Worries about a family’s health and safety, how to find a new job or pay bills, how to keep children safe while meeting their educational and emotional needs, and countless other concerns can boil over into significant emotional issues or mental health concerns. In some cases, these can affect family members and lead to accusations of violence or abuse.
Contact a DuPage County Divorce Lawyer
If you are afraid for the safety of yourself or other family members, you should speak to an attorney about receiving an order of protection. Our lawyers can help you understand your legal options and provide you with representation if you choose to pursue a divorce. We can also help you determine how to respond if your spouse has obtained an order of protection against you. For legal help with concerns related to domestic violence or divorce, call a Wheaton family law attorney at 630-871-1002 for a free consultation.
As divorce continues to be a likely outcome for many marriages, families across the state and nation alike face the possibility of a nontraditional homelife situation. In recent years, some people have argued that the nuclear family may be the source of many societal ills, from economic inequality to racial injustice. Because of this, people have started to wonder whether the traditional nuclear family of a mom, a dad, and one or more children is truly quintessential to a child’s positive upbringing. The truth is, there are alternatives to the nuclear family, some of which might be even more beneficial to your family following a divorce.
3 Beneficial Alternatives to the Nuclear Family
As nuclear families become less and less common, it might be worth considering alternatives to that particular family model. Examples of strong options that may be available after a couple has divorced include:
Extended Families—A family does not have to only be a mother, a father, and their children; it can also include grandparents, aunts and uncles, cousins, other extended blood relatives, etc. This type of arrangement can be beneficial for divorced parents, allowing them and their children to remain close to other family members. It may also help resolve income inequality issues by ensuring that parents have access to high-quality childcare from familiar faces like grandparents or aunts and uncles. This could give many children benefits that they might not otherwise have.
Mixed/Blended Families—In 1960, 73% of all families were traditional nuclear families, but currently, less than half of all marriages are traditional in that sense. Many other families are blended or mixed in some way, meaning not everyone is related by blood. For instance, if a couple divorces after having children together, and they both remarry, their children will have the opportunity to build new relationships with stepparents and maybe even stepsiblings. This introduces elements of diversity into family life that could greatly benefit children.
Diverse Parenting Arrangements—In some cases, single parents may enlist the assistance of other friends and family in raising their children, grandparents may take custody of grandchildren, unmarried couples may choose to cohabitate without getting married, or married couples may be legally separated while maintaining active parenting roles. All of these nontraditional family models can give children an opportunity to learn to adapt to new situations and transition to new living arrangements. This can provide them with critical survival and coping skills that they will be able to use in their adult lives.
Contact a Wheaton, IL Family Law Attorney
American culture is changing, and expectations regarding family life are shifting away from nuclear families being the ultimate goal. Families can comprise a wide variety of people and living situations, and this can work to the benefit of many children. If you are considering divorce, a cohabitation agreement, modifications of child custody orders, or any other family law issues, contact a DuPage County divorce lawyer at 630-871-1002 for a free consultation. Andrew Cores Law Group will give you all the details you need to take the appropriate next steps in your family life.
When married parents get a divorce or unmarried parents are separated, arrangements for child custody will be put in place. A court-approved parenting plan will include decisions regarding parental responsibilities and parenting time. While parenting agreements are meant to protect a parent’s rights as a father or rights as a mother, there are some circumstances where a person’s parental rights may be involuntarily terminated. Illinois has extensive rules and guidelines in place to determine when the termination of parental rights is appropriate.
Involuntary Termination of Parental Rights
Parental rights will only be terminated if it can be proven that a person is unfit as a parent, and remaining in contact with their child or children will not be in the child’s best interests. Some ways a parent might be considered unfit include:
Mental illness or other mental capacity issues that prevent the parent from fulfilling his/her obligations
Conviction or incarceration that prevents parenting
Persistent neglect of the child
Physical abuse of the child (two or more times)
Death of a child by physical abuse
Sexual abuse or assault
Persistent inability to provide sufficient food, clothing, and shelter
Lack of communication and visitation with the child for 12 months
Lack of reasonable concern, responsibility, or interest with regards to the child’s well-being
Inability to protect the child from unsafe conditions
At least one year of habitual drunkenness or drug addiction
Special Circumstances in Illinois Regarding Parental Fitness
It is important to note that in Illinois, a parent may only be found “unfit” in the context of either the Adoption Act or a juvenile criminal case. For instance, one parent may seek the termination of the other parent’s parental rights when pursuing a step-parent adoption by a new spouse. If the other parent does not want to voluntarily give up his or her parental rights, the other parent may need to demonstrate to the court why that parent is considered unfit. In juvenile criminal cases, neither the biological mother nor the biological father can make accusations of “parental unfitness” in court. In these cases, the state will intervene on the child’s behalf to help provide them with a safe family situation.
Contact a Wheaton, IL Family Law Attorney
While the termination of parental rights for your child may not necessarily play a role in your family law case, you should be sure to understand your rights as you address issues related to parental responsibilities and parenting time. For legal help, call a DuPage County child custody lawyer at 630-871-1002 to schedule a free consultation. We will work with you to ensure that your child’s best interests are protected at all times.