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Belleville and Edwardsville Divorce Law Blog

Raising awareness of domestic violence

In many parts of Illinois, domestic violence remains a problem. Alton police, for example, have responded to more than 500 reports of domestic violence in 2017 alone. In Madison County, it is estimated that about 1,400 emergency orders of protection were filed, coming out to an average of five each and every day. To combat incidents of domestic violence, the Alton Police Chief and his wife started the annual Domestic Violence Awareness Walk.

The Domestic Violence Awareness Walk is an annual event that was began after a 30-year-old woman was killed and dismembered by her boyfriend. At the first annual event, just 30 people were involved. The event grew to 100 people. It raises money by charging walkers $10 each. The funds are distributed to different organizations that help curb domestic violence and provide resources for those attempting to escape domestic violence.

Blended Retirement System may complicate military divorce

23829773_S.jpgMilitary personnel in Illinois are likely aware of the Blended Retirement System set to go into effect in January 2018. The system will impact not only military retirement, but many other aspects of military life as well. According to a military family law attorney, the BRS may cause frustration and more work in military divorce cases.

The BRS significantly impacts the way former military spouses will be treated financially. The attorney said the old standard was 50 percent of High-3 base pay, but that is not valid any longer, as it is 40 percent, not 50. He also said former military spouses whose divorces are finalized before 2018 may not have any legal right to the defined contribution Thrift Savings Plan, because it represents a new benefit under the BRS.

Wage garnishment usually occurs because of child support

Illinois residents might be surprised to learn that one in 14 workers in America are subject to wage garnishment. This data was gathered by the ADP Research Institute as part of a study released on Sept. 27.

The study used the anonymo16843060_S.jpgus pay data of 12 million U.S. workers from 2016. Four types of wage garnishment were looked at. These types are child support, bankruptcy, tax levies and other general garnishments that can occur. Child support was the most common type of wage garnishment. Seven percent of Americans have paychecks garnished, and three percent of these garnishments were because of child support.

Deaths by domestic violence go up in Illinois in 2017

27923021_S.jpgAccording to the Illinois Coalition Against Domestic Violence, there were 61 deaths related to domestic violence in the state in 2017. That is an increase from 49 such deaths in 2016. While the exact reason why the number went up is unclear, it may be related to the fact that the group didn't have a budget for two years. Other domestic violence agencies in the state were also forced to cut services or close entirely.

Among services cut were community education and outreach programs. There were also fewer staff members on hand to preform services for those who were victims of domestic violence. Not being able to help a person in a timely manner may result in additional physical harm or death. When people leave an abusive relationship, they have a 75 percent greater chance of being killed. Their chances of being hurt or killed may go up further if they don't know where to turn for help.

Gun-surrender laws and restraining orders

15939026_S.jpgDomestic violence is a problem that affects many people in Illinois. It can sometimes be fatal. One measure that has been shown to reduce the rates of fatal domestic violence incidents is requiring people who have restraining orders against them to surrender their firearms.

According to a study that was published in the Annals of Medicine, fatal instances of domestic violence occur at a 9.7 percent lower rate in the 14 states that have laws requiring people who have domestic violence restraining orders issued against them to turn in their guns. In those states, gun-related instances of fatal domestic violence are 14 percent lower. Gun Violence Archive reports that more than 380 victims have died in domestic violence incidents in just 2017, and a majority of the victims are female.

Air Force has highest divorce rate of the branches

5769907_S.jpgMilitary life in Illinois carries high stress circumstances at times. Deployments, change of station moves and high operational tempo can all put pressure on a marriage and make divorce more likely. Of the branches of service, the Air Force has had the highest rates of divorce since 2011.

According to the Defense Manpower Data Center, enlisted airmen had a divorce rate of 4.3 percent as of 2013. The same data indicate that the divorce rate was lower for officers, at 1.5 percent, and highest for enlisted women. The Rand Corporation reported finding a correlation between total time spent deployed and the likelihood of divorce in military marriages. An analysis conducted by Air Force Times came to similar conclusions.

Working out custody issues

29493362_S.jpgIllinois parents who are divorcing are often concerned about what will happen to their children. Knowing that it is in the best interests of the child or children to have a strong relationship with both parents, divorcing spouses will often work diligently to set aside their differences and develop a custody plan that works for everyone involved.

Still, emotions can run high at this difficult time. In many cases, parents can negotiate child custody issues between themselves and develop a workable parenting plan. However, there are situations in which these informal negotiations can break down, even when both parents are acting in good faith.

Handling joint accounts in a divorce

41818583_S (1).jpgA divorce can be a long and expensive process. Many accounts and assets become frozen during division and cannot be withdrawn from. An Illinois resident who is considering divorce may want to take preemptive measures to secure funds from joint accounts, but caution is warranted.

If divorce is on the horizon, a person may consider withdrawing from joint accounts prior to the divorce process. Timing is very important because accounts can be restricted by an Automatic Temporary Restraining Order that prevents either spouse from withdrawing money or moving assets that would be considered for division. In some cases, these orders apply as soon as a divorce is filed, and in other cases, they may begin sometime after or at the request of a spouse.

Consequences of nonpayment of child support

33971679_S.jpgNoncustodial parents in Illinois are often ordered by the state court to pay child support. However, sometimes that parent will fail to pay said support to the other parent, which can result in several different consequences.

Time in jail is an option if the amount of the support is significant or the parent simply refuses to pay. If the amount isn't particularly high or there are circumstances preventing the support from getting paid when ordered, such as the paying parent's loss of a job, community service may be handed down as a penalty instead.

Helping abuse victims during disaster response

21816279_S.jpgIllinois residents or others who go through a natural disaster may experience emotional trauma. They may also experience physical injury or stress that comes from not having access to food, water or basic services. These factors may increase the likelihood of domestic violence in the aftermath of a storm like Hurricane Harvey. Therefore, those who study the issue say that domestic violence services should be part of an overall disaster recovery plan.

Effective emergency management takes place in four different stages. During the response stage, emergency personnel should offer basic comfort and support to women and children who have experienced domestic abuse. This may take the form of directing them to shelters or providing them with other resources to get past the abuse. The second stage of emergency management is recovery, and emergency management personnel may help abuse victims by pointing them to long-term social support resources.

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Stange Law Firm, PC

Stange Law Firm, PC
115 Lincoln Place Ct.,
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Belleville, Illinois 62221

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