If you are being abused or seriously harassed you may obtain a court order evicting your spouse and ordering him not to come in contact with you. Such an order of protection in Illinois can be obtained on an emergency basis without giving notice to your spouse under certain circumstances.
What is an Order of Protection?
An Order of Protection is a legal and enforceable document issued by a court which protects an abused or harassed victim. The purpose of the order is to prohibit and make it illegal for an offender to abuse, harass, interfere with personal liberty or stalk another.
Can men and women both obtain Orders of Protection?
Yes. Orders of Protection are governed by the Illinois Domestic Violence Act. This Act protects “family or household members” and does not limit protection to women only.
Do I have to be related to the alleged abuser in order to obtain an Order of Protection?
No. A “family or household member” includes spouses, former spouses, parents, children, stepchildren, persons who have or allegedly have a child in common, persons who have or have had a dating or engagement relationship, and persons with disabilities.
Do I have to be physically hit to obtain an Order of Protection?
No. “Abuse” includes “physical abuse, harassment, intimidation of a dependent, interference with personal liberty or willful deprivation.” “Harassment” includes conduct such as bothering a person at home or at work, repeatedly calling a person at home or at work, following a person in public places, keeping a person under surveillance (meaning someone remains outside your home, school, place of employment, car or peeks in your windows), or threatening physical violence on more than one occasion.
Can I obtain an Order of Protection if my spouse threatened to leave town with our child?
Potentially. Wrongful concealment of a child or repeated threats to conceal a child can result in an Order of Protection. A single threat following an actual or attempted improper removal of a child can also result in an Order of Protection.
How do I obtain an Order of Protection?
All counties vary as to the process in which to obtain an Order of Protection. It is advisable to first check with either the Circuit Clerk’s office located at the county courthouse or the state’s attorney’s office. Some counties have special organizations that specifically assist in obtaining Orders of Protection.
For example, in McHenry County, the organization, “Turning Point” directly assists a victim with the process of filling out the proper forms and obtaining an Order of Protection. In Lake County, there is “A Safe Place.”
For example, In McHenry County by calling or going to the McHenry County Government Center in Woodstock you will be referred to that organization.
How long does an Order of Protection last?
It depends on the type of order issued by the court. An emergency order of protection remains in force between 14 and 21 days, and is issued by the court without notice to the alleged abuser if there is a likelihood that more harm would come to the victim if notice were given to the abuser.
An interim order of protection remains in effect for up to 30 days and is issued if notice has been served on the alleged abuser or the alleged abuser filed an appearance with the court. A plenary order of protection can be in effect throughout the pending case (e.g., a divorce case), but usually does not extend beyond two years.
Should I call the police if the person abusing me violates the Order of Protection?
Yes. A police officer can arrest a person if the officer believes the person committed or is about to commit a crime, including a violation of an Order of Protection. The police can verify the existence of the Order of Protection by telephone or police radio, but you should carry a copy of the Order of Protection with you at all times.
What if I am the accused abuser and I have done nothing wrong?
First, you will have been served with an Emergency Petition and Order of Protection by the sheriff’s department. Even though you may have not done the things stated in the Petition, you must comply with the Order of Protection, or be subject to arrest.
The Order of Protection will have a date for a hearing. You must attend the hearing to state your side of the situation and contest the Order of Protection. If you fail to show at the hearing, the Order of Protection will become final and lasts for a period of two years.
What if my spouse has filed the Petition just to harass me, or makes things up just to get
custody of parenting time with of our children, or just to get possession of the house?
This can happen. And it does. Unfortunately, Orders of Protection have been misused by those who want to use the process to intimidate the other spouse, harass and override a fair hearing. There are civil and criminal sanctions available to one who has been subjected to wrongful filing of Petitions for Orders of Protection.
Should I have a lawyer to obtain an Order of Protection, or to defend against one?
It is advisable to obtain a lawyer to represent you in obtaining an Order of Protection, especially if you choose not to accept services from an organization that deals with such matters.
The procedure is simple, so you can do it yourself. Orders of Protection address crucial issues that deal with the safety of yourself and children, if any. If you are the accused and you intend to resist the Order Of Protection it is advisable to obtain the services of a lawyer.
Orders of Protection can involve many matters and be complex. Because Orders of Protection are many times secured on a basis that does not provide notice to the accused, there may be matters in the Order that may or may not be justified. Without the help of a professional trained in the area of domestic violence you may be doing a disservice to yourself, whether you are the victim or the accused.
Is it possible to obtain an order of protection on behalf of a child?
Yes. The Illinois Domestic Violence Act allows a party to obtain an order of protection “by any person on behalf of a minor child … who has been abused by a family or household member and who, because of age … cannot file the petition.”
What is someone violates an order of protection? Can a person in Illinois be required to wear a GPS positioning device?
Yes. See Illinois Public Act 95-733. The law provides that if there is a violation of an order of protection, the person charged undergoes a risk assessment. Depending on the results of the risk assessment, the court may order as a condition of bail a global positioning system (electronic surveillance). The supervising authority over the person convicted of an OP violation will the most modern GPS technology to track domestic violence offenders and defines what capabilities the GPS tracking system must have.