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Lombard family law attorneyDomestic violence is one of the most common family issues in the United States today, unfortunately, and it has an especially pernicious effect on children. If a parent who has committed domestic violence is permitted to continue seeing his or her children, studies have shown that that child has a greater propensity to perpetuate violence in the future. The state of Illinois considers it a high priority to ensure that children are not exposed to such behavior, and as such, if your spouse has charges or convictions, you may be able to mount a serious challenge to their parental fitness.

Domestic Violence Defined

Illinois’ Domestic Violence Act (DVA) of 1986 defines domestic violence as abuse, both physical and otherwise, as well as “interference with personal liberty or willful deprivation.” It also makes a point of identifying a victim as any family or household member, rather than just a spouse. Thus, the law encompasses spouses, but also family members related by blood, people who are (or were) dating or living together, and co-parents of a child who are unmarried. So, for example, if the mother or father of your child abuses you, the DVA still applies in your case, whether you are married or not.

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abuse, Arlington Heights divorce attorneyIf you have been or are in an emotionally abusive relationship, it can be difficult to pinpoint the actual issues. Victims often feel brainwashed in emotionally abusive relationships, because they are unable to specifically target the lies that they have been told and have become conditioned to believe about themselves and the world around them by their partners.

Control and Manipulation

Unlike physical abuse, which has very tangible, nearly universally-recognized symptoms and signs, emotional abuse is much subtler, and can, in some cases, even be tolerated in certain portrayals of relationships in popular culture. In many cases of psychological or emotional abuse, the perpetrator controls the victim through manipulation—this often manifests through tangible outlets such as a person’s bank account or social behavior. This type of behavior can take a serious toll on a person’s self esteem and overall psychological well-being.

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endangerment, illinois courts, Lombard family law attorneyIn 2003, headlines around the country told the tragic story of three small children who drowned while trapped inside a car after it rolled into a lake in central Illinois. The children’s mother and her boyfriend were subsequently charged with first-degree murder, when the story they told about being unable to free the children did not hold up to investigative scrutiny. The boyfriend was convicted and sentenced to life in prison, while the mother was convicted of child endangerment and served five years in prison. Now, the woman is back in a Cook County court, looking to regain custody of the three children she had since her release.

New Name, Same Concerns

Since her imprisonment, the beleaguered woman has changed her last name, a development that allegedly caused child welfare officials to be slow to realize that she had started a new family. When the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) came to the realization that she was the same person whose children had drowned, the agency began looking closely at the situation, eventually removing the new children last year. Prosecutors in Cook County are concerned that the woman’s current decision-making is similar to that of her past, and that she is likely to put her children at risk again.

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Illinois domestic violenceAny one instance of domestic abuse is one too many, and for those residing in Illinois, the Illinois Domestic Violence Act of 1986 (750 ILCS 60) provides the basis for protection. Generally, any instance of physical, emotional or interference with one’s personal liberty at the hand of a family or household member is a crime and will be prosecuted as such. Although often, domestic violence crimes go unreported.

The Chicago Foundation for Women is fighting to put an end to domestic violence through Illinois statute and education. If you are a victim of any type of domestic violence, the following information may prove helpful. You may also consider contacting an experienced Illinois family law attorney to discuss your legal rights under Illinois law.

Staggering Statistics

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child abuse, child neglect, DCFS, DCFS investigation, Illinois family lawyer, Illinois family law attorney, child safetyThe prospect of having to undergo a DCFS child abuse or neglect investigation is a horrifying thought to every loving parent out there. Unfortunately, false accusations do occur. If you find yourself facing the prospect of an abuse or neglect investigation, here is what you need to know.

According to the DCFS fact sheet, an investigation is launched 24 hours from the time a report is received. If the allegation is one of neglect or inadequate shelter, an investigative specialist will be dispatched to view the child’s living space. Initially, the specialist’s concern will be for the immediate safety of the child. The child in question and other children in the household will be interviewed along with other household members, extended family members, and other professionals, depending on the allegation. It’s always best to be completely honest and provide complete information to the specialist. In cases where the allegation is of serious physical or sexual abuse, the state law requires the investigative specialist to notify both the local police and the State’s Attorney. In these cases, the police may choose to conduct a joint investigation, or the police may conduct their own investigation. The police may also be contacted if the investigative specialist feels that family members or other concerned individuals are refusing to cooperate with their investigation. The state has a maximum of 60 days to complete their investigation, though most are completed in 30 days. In certain cases, a 60 day extension may be requested, particularly when the state is waiting on medical or police reports. You will be notified in writing of DCFS’ final findings, and the investigative specialist may also contact you. If the allegations are unfounded, the DCFS State Central Register will maintain the information pertaining to the investigation for one to three years. Facing an abuse or neglect allegation can be a frightening experience. Having a qualified family attorney at your side can help. Contact the experienced Lombard, Illinois family attorneys at A. Traub & Associates today for a consultation on your case. We have years of experience defending clients against unfounded abuse and neglect investigations can help you prove your innocence.

Posted on in Divorce

KerryWhen couples hit problems in a relationship, many times they try to work through them before they make the decision to divorce. However, for a spouse that is in an abusive relationship, staying in the marriage can be dangerous. Whether it’s physical, emotional, mental or financial, everyone should know the warning signs of abuse.

  • Physical violence is one way abuser’s use to control their spouse. Typically, they will strike their victim on parts of the body that can be covered up with clothing. 
  • Threats are another way abusers use to control and intimidate their victims. Threatening to harm the victim, the children, pets, family members or friends. Or threatening to withhold money or other resources. 
  • Extreme jealousy is a sign of insecurity and lack of trust, but an abuser will say it’s proof of their love. Accusations of flirting, or even infidelity, all unfounded, are used as an excuse for physical or emotional violence.
  • Controlling behavior is another form of abuse. The abuser makes all the decisions, from the most important to the mundane. The abuser also checks up on everything the victim does, such as phone calls, emails, text messages, etc. Some abusers even check odometers of the victims’ cars to make sure they are only driving where they are allowed to. 
  • Emotional abuse takes on the form of insults and name-calling. The abuser does this to lower the victim’s self-esteem, making it that much easier for the abuser to maintain control.

If you have been a victim of spousal abuse and are considering a divorce, take the steps to protect yourself. Consult with an experienced Illinois divorce attorney who can help you take the steps to get out of a bad and dangerous marriage.

Illinois State Bar Association DuPage County Bar Association Northwest Suburban Bar Association American Inns of Court DuPage Association of Woman Lawyers National Association of Woman Business Owners Illinois Association Criminal Defense Lawyers DuPage County Criminal Defense Lawyers Association
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