Unfortunately, domestic violence continues to be a serious problem across the nation and in Illinois. The Illinois Domestic Violence Act (750 ILCS 60/) provides victims a way to get court orders of protection, aka restraining orders, to protect victims and their children from abusers. Although certainly many incidences of abuse can be prevented using restraining orders, sometimes orders are issued when there is no domestic violence which can have serious consequences for the parent who is subject to the order of protection.
Typically those who are accused of abuse find out only after they have been served. Although it is upsetting, it is important to comply with the order immediately or risk criminal penalties, including incarceration and fines. Even if you believe the accusations are false and that the order is not factual, you must obey the order by leaving the premises or not contacting the petitioner or others listed as directed. Because there is a small window of opportunity to respond to the order once you have been served, it is important to enlist the help of an experienced family law attorney promptly.
Illinois law provides three types of orders of protection including emergency orders, interim orders and plenary orders. Emergency orders are issued by the court without testimony from, or notice to the respondent and last up to a maximum of 21 days before a hearing is held. If a hearing cannot be scheduled within 21 days, an interim order is another temporary order of protection that covers the time between when an emergency order expires and a full hearing can be held. The hearing provides the respondent an opportunity to challenge the findings — if the order of protection is not challenged, a plenary order may be issued which can last up to two years at a time.
An order of protection can impact the parenting time a respondent is granted with their children in a divorce as well as the support he or she will have to pay. Allegations of domestic violence and abuse can have serious consequences. It is vitally important to challenge the emergency order at the hearing if you believe it is not based on the facts before a plenary order is issued. Be prepared for an uphill battle, as judges are hesitant to lift orders that have been issued. It is in your best interests to work with a lawyer that is well versed on the burden of proof to argue on your behalf. If you have questions regarding Illinois orders of protection or false accusations of domestic abuse, contact the Libertyville Family Law Offices of Schlesinger & Strauss for more information at 847-680-4970.