Domestic violence is a problem that unfortunately plagues every community. Too often, victims of this violence do not realize that they can seek the protection of the law through an order of protection. An order of protection, sometimes called a restraining order, prohibits an abuser from hurting or contacting the victim.
How Does the Process Work?
Under Illinois law, a victim of abuse can file for a protective order to protect against their “family or household member.” The following people qualify as family or household members:
- Parents, children, or stepchildren;
- Spouses or former spouses;
- People who live together or previously lived together;
- People with disabilities and their caregivers;
- People who have a child together; and
- People who have dated or were engaged, regardless of their sex.
So, when a family or household member suffers abuse or harassment from another family or household member, the victim can pursue an order of protection.
When the victim of abuse files a request for an order of protection, they are known as the petitioner. The alleged abuser is called the respondent. The petitioner must file their case in the county where they live, where the respondent lives, or where the abuse took place. Once the filing is done, a judge will decide whether or not to grant the order of protection.
What Are the Types of Protective Orders?
In Illinois, there are three types of protective orders: emergency, interim, and plenary. Each type lasts for a different period of time, and has different legal processes.
An emergency order is intended to protect a victim from immediate danger, and so only lasts up to 21 days. For this type of order, the respondent does not have to be granted a hearing before the order takes effect. Similar to an emergency order, an interim order is intended to be temporary. An interim order can last up to 30 days, but the petitioner must notify the respondent that about the protective order proceedings.
Unlike emergency and interim orders, a plenary order serves more as a lasting solution. However, since a plenary order can last up to two years, the respondent is entitled to both notice of the case and a hearing. During that hearing, the respondent can appear in court and defend him or herself.
What Happens if the Order Is Violated?
Once a judge grants the order of protection, the order takes immediate effect. Each protective order will entail requirements or prohibitions for the respondent. The judge may order the respondent to avoid all contact with the petitioner, to undergo counseling, to appear before the court, or a number of other actions. Additionally, a protective order may change child custody arrangements, prevent the respondent from entering the petitioner’s home, and include other requirements. If the respondent violates any part of the order, they could be fined, arrested, or held civilly liable.
Wheaton and DuPage County Domestic Violence Lawyers
At Fay, Farrow & Associates, P.C., our family lawyers understand the difficulties domestic violence victims must face. We work closely with our clients to fully explain their legal options. We represent our clients in court, petitioning for orders of protection and advocating for their needs. To find out how we can help, contact us today and schedule a free initial consultation.