Domestic Violence and Orders of Protection
Domestic 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.
Family or household members, for purposes of the domestic violence law, include:
- Spouses and former spouses;
- Those who are related by marriage or blood;
- Those who live together or formerly lived together;
- Those who have a child in common; and
- Those with a current or former dating or engagement relationship.
Any victim of domestic violence, including a minor child, can file for an order of protection against his or her abuser. There are three types of domestic violence protective orders: emergency, interim and plenary.
An emergency order is the fastest to obtain and lasts for two to three weeks. No advance notice of the order need be given to the abuser. Emergency orders are only available in certain circumstances, such as if there is a risk of further abuse if the abuser is given notice. An interim protective order requires notice to the abuser as well as a hearing. Also, an interim protective order lasts for 30 days. A plenary order also requires notice and a hearing and lasts for up to two years.
Domestic violence orders of protection can provide several remedies for victims, including:
- Prohibition of further abuse;
- A no-contact order;
- Exclusive possession of the family home;
- Care and custody of a minor child;
- Visitation restrictions;
- An order to pay child support;
- Prohibition on the removal of a child from the state;
- Requirement of counseling or treatment programs; and
- Several other remedies for the protection of victims.
Effects on Custody
Domestic violence can have an effect on child custody and visitation, and not only for the duration of a protective order. In a divorce or custody proceeding, a history of abuse or neglect is one factor that Courts must consider when making decisions regarding parenting time and parental decision-making.
If a Court does grant visitation to an abusive parent, the Judge may require that the visitation be monitored in a supervised visitation facility or by a trusted friend or relative. Courts may also order electronic or phone communication instead of physical visitation.
In extreme cases, a Court may terminate an abusive parent’s parental rights. This will only happen if the parent poses a grave danger to the child’s well-being, and that the threat is likely to continue.
If you have been subject to domestic abuse, an attorney can help you protect yourself and can explain how the violence may affect your children and family situation. Please call skilled Palatine family law attorney Nicholas W. Richardson at 847-873-6741 to schedule a free consultation.