Unfortunately, domestic violence or abuse happens all too often. One in 4 women experience domestic violence in their lifetime, and every year, millions of children witness domestic violence in their homes.
Some victims of abuse may decide to get an Order of Protection from the court to make the abuser stop abusive acts, stay away from the victim or other family members, cease communication, pay child support and get counseling. As part of an order, a judge can also change the allocation of parenting responsibilities (child custody arrangements) to protect children affected by the abuse.
To get an Order of Protection, a person must file court papers, including a Petition for an Order of Protection where the victim explains the circumstances of the request. An emergency order of protection can be granted immediately, without the alleged abuser’s knowledge, which may be followed up with an interim order after the abuser has been served. These short term orders can eventually be replaced by a plenary order, which can last up to 2 years.
To request an Order of Protection, a person can contact a domestic violence program, file a petition at the local circuit clerk’s office, request a criminal Order of Protection if criminal charges are filed or ask a lawyer to file a request on your behalf as part of an existing divorce case.
Source: Illinois Legal Aid, “Getting An Order of Protection for Domestic Violence” accessed October 17, 2016.