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Orders of Protection in Chicago – Frequently Asked Questions

Orders of Protection in Chicago – Frequently Asked Questions

By M. Scott Gordon

What do you need to know about seeking an order of protection in Chicago? Illinois residents unfortunately become victims of domestic violence more frequently than most of us would like to think. When such acts of violence happen to most Illinois residents, they feel helpless and scared. Where can you go to seek an order of protection? And, importantly, what is an order of protection under Illinois law?

  • What law governs domestic violence and orders of protection in Chicago?

The Illinois Domestic Violence Act (750 ILCS 60), also known as the Domestic Violence Act of 1986, governs the state’s laws related to domestic violence. Article II of the Act provides for orders of protection in situations of domestic violence. The Act defines domestic violence as a situation involving “any person who hits, chokes, kicks, threatens, harasses, or interferes with the personal liberty of another family member or household member.”

  • What is an order of protection?

An order of protection is “a court order which restricts an abuser,” and it’s only available to family members (including ex-spouses), dating partners or household members. The latter part of this definition brings us to our next frequently asked question.

  • Who can seek an order of protection?

Orders of protection, as we mentioned, are limited to family, dating or household members who have been victims of abuse. Illinois law specifically defines family or household members as the following:

  •      Family members who are related by blood;
  •      Married people or previously married people;
  •      People unrelated by blood but who currently share (or previously shared) a house, apartment, or other common living space;
  •      People with a child in common;
  •      People who have a blood relationship through a child in common;
  •      People who are currently dating or who used to date one another, including same-sex couples; and
  •      People who have disabilities and their assistants or caregivers.
  • What does an order of protection do?

Depending on your specific situation, the order of protection can do many different things. First, it can prohibit certain behaviors, including but not limited to:

  •      Prohibit the abuser from threatening you or abusing you. Abuse in this case includes physical abuse, stalking, harassment, and intimidation. It also includes any acts that interfere with your personal liberty;
  •      Prohibit the abuser from sharing your residence;
  •      Prohibit the abuser from sharing your residence while she or he is using alcohol or other drugs;
  •      Prohibit the abuser from taking your child out of Illinois or hiding your child from you; and
  •      Prohibit the abuser from accessing records concerning your child.

The order of protection can also require the abuser to do certain things, including but not limited to:

  •      Order the abuser to stay away from you, which can include ordering the abuser to stay away from your place of employment, your home, your school, and other locations;
  •      Require that the abuser attend therapy or counseling;
  •      Require the abuser to appear in court;
  •      Require the abuser to pay child support and other forms of restitution; and
  •      Require the abuser to turn over dangerous weapons that he or she owns.

Orders of protection can also help the victims by doing some of the following:

  •      Giving the victim temporary custody of the children;
  •      Giving the victim certain assets and other property; and
  •      Clarifying visitation rights (if any) for the abuser.

Contact an Experienced Chicago area Family Law Attorney

No matter what the specific details of your situation might be, it’s extremely important to discuss your case with an experienced Chicago family law attorney. You should remember that domestic violence is taken very seriously in our state, and the dedicated attorneys at the law office of M. Scott Gordon & Associates can help you to seek protection from abuse.