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What Are the Steps for Filing an Order of Protection in Illinois?

Posted on in Domestic Violence & Orders of Protection

Algonquin family law attorneysThere is an old saying that no one really knows what goes on behind closed doors. This adage applies to many marriages, where outward appearances can be deceiving. A couple who seems to have it all -- healthy kids, big house, fancy cars -- may in reality be dysfunctional and miserable. Domestic abuse is a serious problem that often leads to divorce and the breakup of a family. Under Illinois law, domestic violence is considered a crime. However, it does not just occur between married couples. 

Anyone who hits, kicks, chokes, threatens, harasses, or interferes with the personal liberty of a family or household member has broken the Illinois Domestic Violence law. These members include married spouses, blood relatives, romantic partners, roommates who share or shared a common dwelling, and even disabled individuals and their caretakers. Luckily, victims of domestic abuse and other forms of financial abuse can petition the court for special protections, known as orders of protection.    

Reasons for Seeking Protective Orders

Sometimes called a restraining order, an order of protection is a court-issued directive that can be entered against an alleged abuser. The court may enter this kind of protective order when an individual fears for his or her own safety (or that of his or her children’s) because of actual or threatened abuse by a family or household member. This type of order generally restricts what the abuser can do, such as coming into physical contact with the victim, and harassing or stalking the victim electronically. 

If it is found that an estranged spouse is hiding, depleting, or destroying marital assets to prevent the other spouse from receiving his or her fair share, the court may grant a restraining order to stop these deceptive acts. Although rare, a different type of abuse involves another party using or selling your invention or something you own without rights or permission to do so. 

A few of the main reasons why someone may choose to file an order of protection include the following actions or behaviors:

  • Physical violence 
  • Mental/verbal abuse
  • Depletion of assets
  • Patent and trademark infringement

Legal Procedure for Orders of Protection

It is important to follow the proper legal process when pursuing an order of protection against another party. A Petition for Order of Protection is the official form that gives the court the necessary information to determine if an order of protection will be granted. 

There are different options regarding this type of legal safeguard. An Emergency Order of Protection is in effect for up to three weeks. The court can grant this without the abuser even being made aware of the petition. A Plenary Order of Protection provides safety for up to two years. The court may grant this after the abuser knows about the petition.

Here are the steps you should take when seeking such orders:

  • Make sure that you are in a safe place by staying with friends or family. 
  • Seek legal advice/counsel.
  • Fill out the Order of Protection forms, including details of the abuse. 
  • File the correct forms with the court.
  • Make sure the sheriff notifies the other party about the order. 
  • Attend your court hearing.

Contact an Elgin Family Law Attorney

There are various ways that a person can feel unsafe during a marriage, after a divorce, or even in a familial relationship. Physical and/or emotional abuse are some of the more common reasons for seeking legal protection. Taking matters into your own hands for your own safety or that of your children’s, in addition to your financial security, may require you to file an order of protection. At the Law Offices of Benedict Schwarz, II P.C., we take every case seriously and handle it with the utmost respect. Our conscientious Kane County domestic violence lawyers will guide you through the options available to you under Illinois law. To schedule an initial consultation, call our office today at 630-200-4882.





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