If you or your children are in danger from a member of your family or household, Illinois law provides for Orders of Protection. These are designed to protect you and your children while documenting your case.
Although you can file for an Order of Protection yourself, it is strongly recommended that you seek the help of an experienced family law attorney. At Diamond Divorce Law, we’re committed to helping our clients through challenging situations, including helping them obtain the protection they need.
If you are in need of an Order of Protection and live in McHenry, Lake, or Kane County, please call our office immediately – even after hours. A friendly team member will answer, take your information, and connect you as quickly as possible with an attorney.
Many people have questions about Orders of Protection; we would like to address some of them in this article.
What Are the Different Types of Orders of Protection?
Because there are several different situations that may warrant an Order of Protection, there are several different types. It is important to understand which type you need as well as the powers and limitations of it.
An Emergency Order of Protection is often the first that will be granted. It goes into effect immediately and lasts from 14 to 21 days. This type of Order is typically granted as an emergency measure (hence the name) until a hearing for a Plenary Order can be scheduled.
Because of the potential risk of harm, the respondent (the person the Order is filed against) is not required to know about the initial petition. The respondent will be informed after it is granted and the petitioner is safe. Because of this, you must provide valid information about the respondent, including name, date of birth, and address, so the order can be delivered to them.
You will also need to be ready to explain the circumstance to the judge. We understand that this may be very difficult, but your attorney will stay with you during this process. It is essential that the judge understands what you are facing so they can issue an Order that offers you the protection you need.
If the respondent has been served, or attempts to serve have been made, but the hearing for a Plenary Order cannot be held within the initial 14 to 21 days, an Interim Order of Protection may be granted. This Order extends the protections for up to 30 days.
However, the goal of the court is to resolve the issue as quickly as possible while protecting the safety of people who have suffered abuse. This is the purpose for the plenary (full) hearing.
Unlike the initial meeting with the judge, both the petitioner (the person requesting the order) and the respondent will need to be present at the plenary hearing. This allows both parties to offer evidence and equips the judge to understand the full picture. The hearing will be set before the Emergency or Interim Order of Protection expires.
At the plenary hearing, the judge will hear testimony from both sides and consider all evidence submitted as well as any testimony from witnesses. All of this will be accounted for in the final ruling.
If either party fails to attend the hearing, the judge will often rule in favor of the party that did appear. While attending the hearing may be emotionally very difficult, it is essential. Failing to do so can result in not being awarded the protection you need.
We understand the difficulty of going through this process, and we take it very seriously. If you have any questions about Orders of Protection or would like to speak with an attorney about moving forward with one, please call us today – our team is here to help.
How Can an Order of Protection Keep Me Safe?
Because everyone’s situation is different, there are different options that can go into an Order of Protection. The court will want to make sure that you and your children have the protection you need, but without placing unnecessary or useless restrictions on the respondent (i.e., restrictions that don’t apply to the situation).
Some of these protections can include:
- Prohibiting the respondent from continuing to issue threats or abuse
- Barring the respondent from access to a shared residence
- Ordering the respondent to stay away from you and anyone else (such as your children) who is named in the Order
- Prohibiting the respondent from being at your work, school, or other locations
- Requiring the respondent to attend counseling
- Prohibiting the respondent from hiding your child(ren) from you or taking them out of state
- Giving you temporary possession or legal custody of your child(ren)
- Barring the respondent from accessing your child(ren)’s records
- Requiring the respondent to turn over weapons to local law enforcement, if there is danger of them being used illegally against you or your children
- Other actions deemed necessary to protect you and your children
Orders of Protection can become complex, but they are powerful tools designed to keep you safe. If you have any questions or are in need of help obtaining an Order, please don’t hesitate – contact our office today.
DISCLAIMER: Any information contained herein is solely for informational purposes and is only applicable in the state of Illinois. While it is important that you educate yourself, nothing herein should be construed as legal advice or create an attorney-client relationship. For specific questions, we urge you to contact a local attorney for advice pertaining to your specific legal needs.