Tag Archive for: Post Divorce Modification

Divorce In The Forces: PTSD

As we observe Military Appreciation Month this May, it’s essential to acknowledge the challenges faced by military families, particularly when it comes to issues like mental health problems and navigating divorce.

While at its core, military divorce shares common legal aspects with civilian divorces, complexities arise with military pensions, child custody arrangements, and other family law matters, often causing tensions between the separating spouses. Moreover, when mental health challenges such as depression and PTSD, prevalent among military personnel, are factored in, navigating this emotionally fraught journey becomes even more delicate and intricate.

Mental Health in The Military

The lifestyle of military families and the multiple stressors that military partners face can lead to anxiety as well as major depressive disorder. It is important to be aware of such where there’s anxiety; you may also find major depressive disorder.

According to the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs, 7 out of every 100 Veterans (or 7%) will have PTSD. In the general population, 6 out of every 100 adults (or 6%) will have PTSD in their lifetime. PTSD is also more common among female Veterans (13 out of 100, or 13%) versus male Veterans (6 out of 100, or 6%). We are learning more about transgender Veterans and those who do not identify as male or female (non-binary). PTSD can affect how couples get along with each other. It can also directly affect the mental health of partners.

A subsequent study by Combat Stress asked veterans’ partners about their experiences of living with someone with PTSD. The results showed that partners face challenges, including inequality in their relationship, loss of their own identity, living in a volatile environment, and emotional distress and isolation.

Understanding Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Divorce

PTSD is a mental health condition that can arise following exposure to or witnessing a traumatic event. The impact of PTSD can reverberate throughout every facet of a relationship, manifesting in communication breakdowns and even violent outbursts. Common symptoms may include flashbacks, nightmares, severe anxiety, and uncontrollable thoughts about an event. 

According to the National Vietnam Veterans Readjustment Study (NVVRS), Veterans with PTSD exhibit a higher likelihood of experiencing marital difficulties. The study revealed that Veterans with PTSD:

  • Are twice as likely to undergo divorce.
  • Are three times more prone to multiple divorces.
  • Tend to have shorter-lasting relationships.

It’s crucial to understand that these symptoms stem not from choice or weakness but from profound psychological trauma. If you are a spouse navigating a partner’s PTSD, patience, compassion, and education are paramount. Let’s explore some tips for navigating PTSD and divorce.

If you need support, you can:

Navigating PTSD & Divorce

Navigating divorce with a military spouse requires a delicate balance of empathy, understanding, and practical support. Understanding what your spouse is going through can help you respond with compassion. While being supportive is important, setting boundaries to protect your well-being is also essential. Make it clear what behavior is acceptable and what is not, and be prepared to enforce those boundaries if necessary.

While these strategies can help manage the challenges of divorce with a spouse with PTSD and other mental health issues, there may come a point where professional help is necessary. Here are some signs that it may be time to seek professional help:

  • Escalating Conflict: If conflicts with your spouse are becoming more frequent or intense, and attempts to resolve them have been unsuccessful, it may be time to involve a professional mediator or divorce attorney.
  • Safety Concerns: If you or your children feel unsafe or threatened by your spouse’s behavior, it’s essential to take steps to protect yourselves, which may include seeking a protective order or filing for divorce.
  • Lack of Progress: If your spouse is unwilling or unable to seek treatment for their PTSD, or if their symptoms are not improving despite treatment, it may be time to involve a mediator or divorce attorney.

Recognizing the right time to seek assistance from a divorce attorney is essential. It’s crucial to work with a divorce attorney who has experience in handling cases involving military families and comprehends the intricacies of PTSD.

What You’ll Need To File A Divorce

If you’re a military family, there are some limitations on what you can do regarding filing for divorce. When couples find themselves struggling to resolve conflict, and divorce seems like more and more of a reality, many parents question whether or not they should stay or pursue separation. Often, the best way to approach possible psychological issues in a military divorce is the same way they should be approached in every divorce, albeit with some unique additions.

The Federal Service Members Civil Relief Act of 2003 requires a person seeking a divorce to state their spouse is not a member of the U.S. armed forces. This rule prevents spouses from divorcing military members who could not attend divorce proceedings.

If your spouse is a member of the military, you can pursue a divorce as long as they consent. However, they have to sign a defendant’s affidavit of consent. Even though there are a few added rules regarding the military divorce process, the remaining process is similar to civilian divorce. You will still need to agree on the following:

In many cases, you can file for a no-fault divorce (Illinois is a No-Fault Divorce State) if you and your spouse agree on the terms of your divorce. If not, however, an experienced divorce lawyer can help mediate your dispute and draft a settlement agreement. 

How a Divorce Attorney Can Help

We understand that military life can be difficult for families, especially when divorce is involved. At Masters Law Group, we consider all aspects of military life when working with our clients during their divorces. Here are some areas where we can help guide you:

  • Parenting Plans: If you have children, it’s essential to work closely with your attorney to determine the most suitable arrangements for allocating parental responsibilities and visitation. We aim to help create arrangements that prioritize your children’s well-being and best interests.
  • Mediation and Alternative Dispute Resolution: We encourage exploring options like mediation and collaborative divorce, which can facilitate mutually beneficial agreements outside the courtroom. Our family law attorneys will skillfully guide you through these processes, representing your interests and helping you secure a smoother negotiation experience.
  • Post-Divorce Modifications: Life can bring unexpected changes even after the divorce is finalized. Circumstances may arise that require modifications to parental responsibilities, visitation, or support arrangements. Our attorneys are here to assist you in addressing these changes promptly and effectively, helping protect your rights and the interests of your children.

Working with a divorce attorney can help you confidently navigate the complexities of divorce and help reduce stress. Your rights and the well-being of your family are our top priorities.

Final Thoughts

PTSD, depression, and divorce can be a match made in hell. If you are seeking divorce in the military, you don’t have to go it alone. At Masters Law Group, we move through settlement negotiations, mediation, or litigation with our clients’ assurance and well-being in mind.

Whether you are facing a contested divorce, uncontested divorce, or civil union divorce in the forces this Military Appreciation Month, our firm’s attorneys are ready to skillfully advocate for your position and provide your voice when you need it most.

Contact us today to set up your complimentary consultation.

Domestic Violence Awareness Month With Masters Law Group

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. It’s a time when communities throughout the U.S. come together to shed light on domestic violence and stand by survivors. 

Almost 20 people in the United States experience physical abuse from an intimate partner every minute. This adds up to over 10 million women and men in a single year. Domestic violence is a widespread problem that touches people from all backgrounds. Its effects cause physical harm and emotional wounds that are endured for years.

In this blog, we’ll dive into the significance of Domestic Violence and how a family attorney can help bring positive change to the lives of survivors and their loved ones. Here’s what you need to know.

The Role of Domestic Violence Awareness Month

Domestic Violence Awareness Month serves a multitude of crucial purposes. It plays a vital role in increasing awareness about the gravity of domestic violence, effectively dispelling myths and stereotypes. By understanding the indicators and effects of abuse, individuals become better equipped to recognize and confront it. This month reinforces the message that survivors are not alone and that help is readily accessible.

Furthermore, Domestic Violence Awareness Month emphasizes the importance of prevention through educational efforts and community involvement. It fosters conversations about healthy relationships, consent, and bystander intervention. Let’s look at different types of abuse and how to identify it.

Understanding Domestic Violence

Domestic violence is a pattern of abusive behavior in a relationship, typically characterized by one partner using power and control over the other. Unfortunately, domestic violence knows no boundaries and can affect people of all genders, races, and socioeconomic backgrounds. Its far-reaching consequences impact the immediate victims and children who witness such abuse. 

Domestic violence can manifest in various forms. Understanding how abuse occurs and intersects can help you safely respond to situations. Below are some ways to identify the different types of abuse.

  • Physical abuse: This form is one of the most easily identified types. It involves physical violence, or threats of it, to maintain power over an individual. Because of this, survivors are afraid and uncertain when more abuse will occur. Physical abuse often reinforces the regular use of other, more subtle types.
  • Emotional abuse: Has non-physical behaviors that are meant to control, isolate, or frighten someone. These behaviors are often more subtle and hard to identify but are just as serious as other types of abuse.
  • Sexual Abuse: Sexual abuse is when a partner controls the physical and sexual intimacy in a relationship. This often involves acting in a way that is non-consensual and forced.
  • Financial Abuse: Financial or economic abuse occurs when an abusive partner extends their power and control into your financial situation.
  • Digital Abuse: Digital abuse uses technology and the Internet to bully, harass, stalk, intimidate, or control a partner. This behavior is often a form of verbal or emotional abuse conducted online. 

The Role of Family Attorneys

Family attorneys are crucial in addressing domestic violence cases and helping survivors rebuild their lives. Family attorneys are well-versed in family law and can guide survivors seeking protection orders, custody arrangements, and divorce proceedings. They help ensure that legal measures are in place to protect survivors and any children involved. These plans include finding safe housing, accessing resources, and establishing communication protocols with law enforcement. Here are some of the following resources they can use to help:

Child Custody and Visitation: Family attorneys advocate for the child’s best interests in cases involving children. They work to secure custody arrangements that protect the child from further harm and facilitate healing.

Restraining Orders: Family attorneys can help survivors obtain orders of protection, which legally prohibit the abuser from contacting or approaching the survivor. These orders provide a crucial layer of protection.

Advocacy in Court: Family attorneys are the voice of survivors in legal proceedings. They present evidence, argue, and advocate for their clients’ rights and safety, ensuring the survivor’s perspective is heard and respected.

Attorneys often have networks of professionals and organizations in domestic violence support, including counselors, shelters, and support groups. They can connect survivors with these resources to aid in their recovery.

Working With Masters Law Group

When going through a domestic dispute, it is often beneficial to seek assistance from family law professionals who have experience navigating the legal aspects of separation, divorce, and mediation. The experienced family law attorneys at Masters Law Group can advise on the legal aspects of your divorce. We can help you understand your rights, obligations, and options for resolving disputes while providing valuable guidance and support. Our main goal is to ensure that your rights and the best interests of your children are protected. Here are some of the areas that can help you navigate:

Parenting Time: If you have children, work closely with your attorney to determine the best child custody and visitation arrangements. Ensure that the agreed-upon arrangements prioritize your children’s well-being and best interests.

Mediation: Explore options such as mediation or collaborative divorce to help you and your ex-spouse reach mutually beneficial agreements outside of court. Your family law attorney can guide you through these processes and represent your interests during negotiations.

Post-divorce disputes: After the divorce is finalized, there may be circumstances that require modifications to child custody, visitation, or support arrangements. Stay in touch with your attorney to address any changes or issues that may arise in the future.

Remember, during this challenging period, Masters Law Group is here to support you and your legal rights. Working with our trusted attorneys can help alleviate the stress associated with domestic disputes, ensuring a smoother transition for both you and your children.

COMMUNITY RESOURCES

Chicago offers a range of important community resources for those affected by domestic violence. The Domestic Violence Legal Clinic provides legal assistance and advocacy services, ensuring survivors can access legal remedies. Apna Ghar offers culturally sensitive support and shelter to immigrant and refugee survivors. The Chicago Metropolitan Battered Women’s Network serves as a comprehensive resource hub, connecting survivors to various shelters, counseling, and legal aid services throughout the city.

Additionally, the Illinois Domestic Violence Hotline operates 24/7, offering immediate assistance, information, and referrals to those in crisis. These organizations and many others in Chicago are vital in providing support, resources, and community connections for individuals affected by domestic violence.

Final Thoughts

Domestic Violence Awareness Month serves as a reminder that domestic violence is a grave issue that affects countless lives. At Masters Law Group, our attorneys play an essential role in helping survivors break free from abusive situations and rebuild their lives. As we observe Domestic Violence Awareness Month, let us reaffirm our commitment to raising awareness, supporting survivors, and working together to create a world free from domestic violence.

Contact us today to discover how we can guide you toward a brighter, safer future.