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chicago divorce lawyerAll couples fight - in fact, relationship experts say that couples who do not fight may be in deeper trouble than those who fight frequently. However, what is key for a healthy relationship is that a couple fights fairly and that they can come back together after facing conflict. 

When you are in a relationship, especially one that involves a lot of conflict, it can be difficult to know just how much conflict - and what kind of conflict - is normal. This is especially true if you grew up in a home with high-conflict parents. If you feel unhappy or unsafe in your marriage, it is important to accurately assess whether you are dealing with marital abuse. Here, we offer some tips from relationship experts to help you determine whether your marital conflict is normal. If you feel it is not, consider scheduling a consultation with an Illinois divorce attorney. 

Normal Marital Conflict vs. Abuse

Equality and fairness are essential in a marriage or domestic partnership. You deserve to feel valued by your partner. While everybody sometimes says things they do not mean in a fight, if your partner regularly makes you feel belittled or devalued, this may be a sign of relationship abuse. 

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chicago divorce lawyerAn Illinois divorce has several important issues that must be resolved. If there are minor children, child support and custody schedules need to be decided. The question of whether spousal support should be paid needs to be answered. Finally, couples need to divide the assets and money they have accumulated during their marriage according to Illinois law. 

While some states require spouses to divide their marital estate equally, Illinois requires asset division to be fair, leaving neither spouse with a disproportionate amount of marital assets or marital debt. This means each couple will have a different outcome in their asset division; what worked for your friend or family member may not work for you. Fortunately, most couples find that with respectful negotiation, they can make it through the asset division process and come to an agreement that works for both partners.

Dividing Bank Accounts

Bank accounts are usually among the easiest assets to divide because their value is easily known. If both partners contributed equally to a couple’s savings, regardless of their income, it makes sense to split a savings account equally. If one spouse earned more and contributed more to the savings account, that spouse may be able to negotiate for a greater portion of the funds. 

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chicago divorce lawyer for abuse victimsDomestic abuse victims frequently stay with their abusers because they fear an increase in dangerous violence if they try to leave. Unfortunately, research supports the idea that abusers often do become more dangerous when their victims end the relationship. But that does not mean that you should stay trapped in a terrible marriage forever. Whether you are heterosexual or part of the LGBTQ community, there are protections for victims of domestic violence in Illinois. Having a skilled divorce attorney in your corner can help you prepare for divorce when you have a violent spouse. 

Emergency Orders of Protection

One of the most valuable resources for victims of domestic violence who want to leave their abuser is an Emergency Order of Protection, or EOP. EOPs can be issued with the testimony of only one spouse and last for up to 21 days. While you will need to appear in court again during the hearing that extends an EOP into a long-term Plenary Order of Protection, if you have evidence to prove your spouse is abusive, you should not fear being in court with your ex-spouse. Let your attorney know about your concerns so they can inform the court, which can provide additional protection in the courtroom.

Once you have an EOP and have delivered the divorce papers to your spouse (things can be organized so the timing of these two processes aligns), you may need to get somewhere safe. Whether this is the residence of a friend or family, an undisclosed hotel, or a battered spouse’s shelter, you may need to hide from your spouse until he or she cools down. If you believe your spouse will respect an EOP, you may be able to simply remain in your home. If your spouse violates an EOP, you can call the police and immediately have your spouse arrested. 

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When Do Alimony Payments End in Illinois?

Posted on in Divorce

chicago divorce lawyerRegardless of whether a spouse is paying or receiving alimony (technically known as “spousal maintenance” in Illinois), each party will want to know when, and under what circumstances, alimony payments might end. While more women in the workforce and greater equity between spouses means alimony is awarded less often today than it has been in the past, alimony can still be a crucial support or a major financial burden, depending on your perspective. Both men and women can be recipients of spousal maintenance if the circumstances merit it.

Illinois has laws specifically addressing when alimony can be changed or terminated; read this blog for a brief overview of these circumstances and then contact an experienced Illinois family law attorney for help with your case. 

When Can Alimony Be Modified? 

As the name suggests, spousal maintenance is intended to help one spouse get on his or her feet financially once a marriage has ended. Depending on the original divorce decree and each spouse’s circumstances, including whether there are still very young children at home preventing the receiving spouse from getting back into the workforce or obtaining an education, spousal maintenance might be:

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chicago child support lawyerWhile Illinois parents who have gotten divorced are usually relieved to be rid of each other in their day-to-day lives, the conflict and differences of opinion that existed in the marriage can be resurrected over and over again when minor children are involved. Child support is frequently a cause of disagreement between divorced or never-married parents, and one of the most common concerns we hear is that the parent paying child support believes the other parent is using the money for him or herself rather than the child. If you are in this situation, this blog may be helpful to you. 

Can My Ex Spend Child Support However They Want? 

Although it may frustrate the paying parent to no end, Illinois law has no specific limitations regarding how child support may be used. As long as the child’s needs are being met, the receiving parent can spend child support freely on clothes, vacations, or outings with friends on the weekend. 

But when a child is being neglected or abused because of a parent’s frivolous or selfish spending habits, that is illegal. Both parents are responsible for making sure a child has the clothes, food, medical care, and school supplies that they need. If your child is regularly coming to see you during parenting time and he does not have clean clothes in good repair, is malnourished, or has not been treated for urgent medical conditions, you may rightfully be alarmed. 

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