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What is an Order of Protection?

Posted by Megan Lafata | Apr 01, 2022 | 0 Comments

Orders of Protection in Illinois

What is an Order of Protection?

In Illinois, an order of protection is a court order which provides victims protection from threats or abuse, including domestic violence, and is only available to family or household members. An Order of Protection can be used to protect the victim and anyone else living in the home, including minor children. Under Illinois law, family or household members include:

(a) family members related by blood;

(b) people who are married or used to be married;

(c) people who share or used to share a home, apartment, or other common dwelling;

(d) people who have or allegedly have child in common or a blood relationship through a child in common;

(e) people who are dating or engaged or used to date, including same sex couples; and

(f) people with disabilities and their personal assistants.

If an order of protection is successfully obtained, it can prohibit the responding party from contacting, harassing, stalking, threatening, intimidating the victim, or even order an abuser to stay away from a certain location (i.e. school, work, home, etc.). A judge can also order the responding party to attend counseling, pay child support, or even move out of a home they share with the victim.

Now, how does one get an order of protection? First, there are three different types of orders of protection in Illinois: Interim Orders of Orotection, Emergency Orders of Protection, and Plenary Orders of Protection.

Types of Orders of Protection

Emergency Order of Protection

An Emergency Order of Protection is used in situations where a victim will face serious hardship if the alleged abuser is notified of the order. A judge can issue this order “ex parte” (without notifying the opposing party and without him/her being in court). However, if the court grants the order, it is only in effective until there is a full hearing for a plenary order (where the alleged abuser attends), usually within 14-21 days.

Interim Order of Protection

An Interim Order of Protection provides a victim protection between the time that the alleged abuser was served with notice of the Order and the final hearing on the merits of the case. Unlike an Emergency Order of Protection, the alleged abuser must be served with notice, or that the alleged abuser (or his/her attorney) appeared in court or filed an appearance before an interim order can be granted. An Interim Order of Protection can be effective for up to 30 days.

Plenary Order of Protection

A Plenary Order of Protection is the final civil protective order that can be issued, and it can only be issued after the alleged abuser is given proper notice and both parties have had the opportunity to present evidence as to the merits of the case. If the defendant does not appear for the hearing and notice was properly served, then the order will generally be granted. A Plenary Order of Protection can last up to two years, although a court may renew the Order.

How Do I Get an Order of Protection?

In order to get an Order of Protection you must fill out court forms and file them with the circuit clerk at the courthouse in the county where you live, where the abuser lives, or where the events happened. The forms that need to be filled out include:

  • Petition for Order of Protection (this tells the judge what you are asking for and why)
  • Order of Protection (either an Emergency Order of Protection or a Plenary Order of Protection)
  • Summons (which will give the sheriff information on how to deliver the Petition to the abuser)

When drafting your Petition, make sure you include details about the abuse, including what the abuser said and did to you, where the abuse happened, if you were hurt by the abuse, dates and times of the abuse, etc.

Once you file the forms with your county clerk, the clerk will tell you when you need to return for your hearing in front of a judge. Make sure you attend the hearing! If you filed an Emergency Order of Protection, the judge will ask you detailed questions about the abuse and decide whether to grant the Order. After this, a hearing date for a Plenary Order of Protection will be set. If the alleged abuser does not attend the hearing, the Plenary Order may be granted. If an Order is granted in the victim's favor, the court with notify the sheriff and the order will be given to Illinois law enforcement so the order can be enforced against the alleged abuser. Anyone who disobeys an Order of Protection can be arrested and charged with a crime.

If you are seeking an Order of Protection or have been wrongly accused and need to defend yourself from an Order of Protection entering against you, contact our attorneys at 630-481-6633 to schedule a free consultation. We will discuss the details of your situation and explain how we can help protect you and your family.

About the Author

Megan Lafata

Megan is the founder of Lafata Law LLC and former felony prosecutor. Megan is passionate about advocating for the rights of her clients and their families. 


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