Domestic 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.