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DuPage County domestic violence attorneysDomestic violence is, unfortunately, a widespread problem in the United States. Each year, more than 12 million people are victims of physical or sexual violence from an intimate partner, and this abuse often extends to children in the household as well. If you or a family member is suffering from domestic abuse in Illinois, an order of protection can help keep you safe from the perpetrator. An experienced attorney can help you understand how an order of protection works and which type of order is best for your situation.

What is an Order of Protection?

In Illinois, an order or protection can prevent an alleged abuser from continued abuse, physical contact, proximity, and communication with the person who has been abused, as well as that person’s children, dependents, or legal guardians. Orders of protection are enforced by local law enforcement officers, and they can be filed independently or together with a petition related to divorce, parental responsibilities, guardianship, or adoption

Depending on the nature and severity of your situation, you may be able to pursue one of three types of protective orders:

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Wheaton orders of protection lawyersThe coronavirus shutdown may have been a reprieve for the overworked and disconnected. Still, for the victims of domestic violence, the entire experience may have more closely resembled an inescapable nightmare.

Trapped at home, nowhere go when arguments erupted. The potential loss of finances, elevating tensions within the home. The realization that you are no longer safe in your marriage.

If this was more along the lines of your experience during the quarantine period, it might be time for you to move forward with the divorce process. However, the next steps need to be cautionary and guided. Your safety—and perhaps even the safety of your children—are on the line.

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DuPage County domestic violence lawyersDomestic violence, which impacts approximately one in three women (and one in four men) is a near silent epidemic. Terrified to leave or speak out, victims often live behind the facade of a happy home, despite being in constant danger. Sadly, the longer they stay in the relationship, the more they risk serious injury or death at the hands of their abuser. Thankfully, there are legal steps that victims can use to protect themselves when they find the strength and courage to leave.

How a Restraining Order Can Protect You and Your Child

Restraining orders are designed to provide legal protections to victims of domestic violence. More specifically, they:

  • Prohibit your abuser from intimidating, harassing, stalking, exploiting, or negatively impacting your personal liberty;
  • Mandate that your abuser stay away from you and anyone else listed on the order of protection;
  • Prohibit your abuser from removing your child from the state, or hiding them away from you within the state;
  • Order your abuser to stay away from your school, place of employment, and other specific places you may frequently visit;
  • Prohibit your abuser from destroying or getting rid of your belongings;
  • Prohibit your abuser from possessing a firearm;
  • Require that your abuser reimburse you for shelter and counseling services (when applicable);
  • Exclude your abuser from the home in which you are living (even when owned or leased by the abuser);
  • Mandate that your abuser return all personal belongings to you;
  • Prohibit your abuser from causing any harm to your child (mentally, physically, or sexually); and
  • Prohibit your abuser from removing a shared child from your physical care. 

Emergency Orders of Protection

While most victims need long-term protection from their abuser, such orders take time to put into place. Emergency orders help to fill the gap by providing immediate protection to the victim. Based solely on the testimony of the victim, these orders can be obtained at any time - even on holidays or at night, when the courts are closed. However, they only offer you protection for 14 to 21 days. Therefore, it is critical that victims begin the process for obtaining a long-term order of protection (known as plenary orders of protection) while the emergency order is still in place. 

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DuPage County family law attorneys, orders of protectionIf you have a temporary order of protection issued by an Illinois court to protect your safety and that of your family, it can be terrifying to think about what the abuser may do when the designated time period expires. By its terms, a typical restraining order may last anywhere from a few weeks up to a couple of years, depending on the circumstances.

Fortunately, Illinois law does provide alternatives to letting an order of protection expire, but the process to extend or modify can be complicated. An attorney with experience in restraining orders can tell you more about the proceedings.

Types of Orders of Protection Under Illinois Law

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DuPage County family law attorney, orders of protectionIf you are in a situation where you fear for your own safety due to the actions of another person, Illinois law does provide you with options to protect yourself. Sometimes termed a “restraining order,” an order of protection can prevent harm by mandating that an abuser avoid contact or communication with you. It is critical to consult with an experienced DuPage County restraining order attorney about the three different types of orders of protection right away, before any further violence impacts your life.

Emergency Orders of Protection

Under Illinois law, you can obtain an emergency order to protect against violence solely through your own testimony to a judge, without the typical procedural rules that would apply in other cases. You do not have to notify the abuser and he or she does not have to appear in court, when the harm you are trying to prevent will likely happen if proper notice is delivered.

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New Illinois Gun Law Affects Those with Restraining OrdersA new law was just passed in Illinois that affects people who have restraining orders against them. The law further restricts the ability to own guns for people who have orders of protection against them or other specific domestic violence charges.

The Law

The new law goes into effect January 1, 2017. The statute lets the Illinois State Police revoke gun owners’ Firearm Owner's Identification Cards and deny someone’s application for the cards if they have certain protections filed against them. If someone has an order of protection or an order of no contact for stalking that applies to them, then they are eligible to have their ability to own firearms restricted under this new law.

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DuPage County family law attorneys, orders of protectionDomestic violence against family members or a loved one is one of the most difficult issues to handle in family law. However, if you are a victim of this type of abuse the law provides protection from your offender in the form of an “Order of Protection.” This court order prohibits an attacker from coming near or making any type of contact with you for as long as the order stands.

Illinois Domestic Violence

Under Illinois law, 750 ILCS 60/103 describes domestic violence as abuse of a family or household member. To fall under this category, a family or household member includes: 

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