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b2ap3_thumbnail_shutterstock_356898968-4.jpg Domestic violence is much more prevalent than many people realize. The Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority reports that 42 percent of Illinois women and 26 percent of Illinois men have experienced intimate partner violence. If you have been harmed by a former or current family member or household member, you are not alone. Domestic violence may involve married couples, ex romantic partners, family members, or roommates. If you or a loved one were a victim of domestic violence, an order of protection may give you the legal protection you need.

When is an Order of Protection Necessary?

An order of protection, called a restraining order in other states, is a court order that can protect domestic violence victims from further abuse or harassment. If you have been physically injured or psychologically tormented by a family member, ex-boyfriend or ex-girlfriend, or someone with whom you share children, an order of protection can force them to stay away from you and/or your children.

Do I Quality for an Order of Protection?

Orders of protection are intended to protect domestic violence sufferers from further mistreatment. Domestic violence and abuse does not only involve physical harm like punching or hitting. Per Illinois law, the following actions may also qualify someone for a protection order:


palatine divorce lawyerWomen and men of every race, age, and income level can become victims of domestic violence. While many stay silent about the abuse, physical, mental, and sexual abuse is not uncommon in Illinois and across the United States. Studies show that approximately 42 percent of women and 26 percent of men in Illinois have experienced intimate partner violence at least once in their lives. If you are in an abusive marriage and you want to divorce, you need to prepare for the possibility of escalation.

What is Escalation?

The National Domestic Hotline describes escalation as the sudden or gradual worsening of the abuse. Many abusive people derive a sense of power and control by harming their victims. When the victim takes steps to stand up for themselves or leave the abuser, the abuser may fear losing this power and control. They may escalate their behavior. For example, a husband who has typically used insults and threats to control his wife may begin physically abusing her when she takes steps to leave him. Approximately 75 percent of domestic violence resulting in serious injuries occurs when the victim tries to leave the abuser.

How Can an Order of Protection Help Me?

If you want to leave your abusive marriage for good, you need to have a safety plan in place. One crucial component of this plan should be legal protection against further abuse. An Emergency Order of Protection (EOP) is often available on the same day that it is requested. You do not have to tell your spouse that you sought the protection order. Also, “abuse” includes not only physical violence but also harassment, intimidation, interference with personal liberty, and threats according to Illinois law. You do not have to wait until your spouse’s behavior escalates to physical abuse before seeking protection.


Palatine family law attorney, domestic violenceLeaving a marriage with domestic violence requires planning and support to ensure the victim and his or her children are safe. Usually, a victimized spouse must leave in secret and must also leave most possessions behind, so the abusive spouse does not discover the plan in advance. The law recognizes that domestic violence is an all-too-common issue in marriages, and therefore seeks to make keeping an abuser away easier for victims and their families.

In 2014, Illinois law enforcement received more than 65,000 calls related to domestic violence. Hence, knowing how to get retain legal protection against an abusive spouse, as well as how the Court views this issue in divorce/child custody cases, is crucial.

Orders of Protection


Palatine domestic violence lawyer, orders of protection domestic abuseWhile lawmakers and advocates alike have mounted massive public awareness campaigns and strengthened existing state laws concerning domestic violence, this issue remains problematic today. Domestic violence is an issue that often appears in divorces, child custody cases and other types of family law proceedings. Furthermore, false allegations of domestic violence, which are not uncommon in bitter family law or divorce cases, can damage one’s reputation and livelihood. Fortunately, for cases of true domestic abuse, there are several avenues of relief on both the criminal and civil sides of the law. One of the most common tools used to combat domestic abuse is the order of protection.

What is an Order of Protection?

An order of protection is a legal court order that requires an individual stay away from you and/or your children. In emergency cases, a court can issue a temporary order of protection the same day that you request it. A temporary order can remain effective for up to 21 days. In order to obtain a more permanent order of protection, however, you must attend a hearing, at which both you and the other individual can present evidence to the judge. After hearing evidence from both sides, the judge can issue an order of protection that lasts for up to two years. Violation of either a temporary or regular order of protection is extremely serious, and can result in criminal charges against the individual who violates the order.


Palatine family law attorney, orders of protection, domestic violenceDomestic violence is a serious problem — a problem which can have a devastating effect on children and families. Victims of domestic violence may seek protective orders to help them avoid contact with their abusers. Additionally, domestic violence can have an effect on child custody proceedings and can mean the loss of parenting time, visitation, and even, in extreme circumstances, parental rights.

What is Domestic Violence?

Domestic violence, under Illinois law, is abuse against a family or household member. Abuse does not mean just physical abuse. Abuse also includes mental cruelty, harassment, intimidation, threats and controlling behaviors. A parent’s reasonable direction of a child, however, does not constitute domestic violence.


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Nicholas W. Richardson is an experienced divorce lawyer and mediator whose comprehensive legal knowledge, commitment to clients and reputation for results bring lasting solutions to your problems.

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