Unfortunately, sometimes a marriage or a live-in relationship can get abusive and it’s hard to know what steps you can take to remove yourself from the situation. In Illinois, the Illinois Domestic Violence Act (IDVA) is a law that specifically forbids any family and household members from continuous abusive acts.
The IDVA defines abuse as:
Intimidation of a dependent;
Interference with personal liberty; or
If you or your children are receiving abuse from any household member, you can take initial action by filing criminal charges through your local police station. If you do not want to file criminal charges, you can take a civil action by asking the court for an Order of Protection. An Order of Protection is simply a written court order prohibiting the household member from further abuse.
When you go to the court to ask for an Order of Protection, you will file an initial petition with the help of a court clerk. If you have grounds, the judge will enter a temporary Order of Protection, which will last for 14 to 21 days. Typically, this order will prohibit the household member from the entering the house.
At the time of issuing the emergency order, the court will set a hearing date within the 14 to 21 days for a protection order hearing. At this hearing, both you and the abusive household member will appear in court and have the ability to present evidence and witnesses to the abuse. At the end of this hearing, the court will either grant or deny a plenary protection order that lasts for up to two years.
A protective order can also clarify additional household issues. A protective order can state the visitation rights of the abuser during the protective period, including drop-off and pick-up regulations that make you feel safe. If the abuse is extended to your children, a judge may deny visitation or order supervised visitation. A protective order may also arrange for payments on a marital home until a divorce can be completed.
If a household member is abusing you, a protective order can be the first step to ending the abuse and making you feel safe. The initial temporary protection order can be obtained at any courthouse in your area, and most courts have a specific website to help answer questions before you even get to the courthouse. Visit the DuPage County or Kane County websites for more information.
Speak with an Attorney
Attempting to navigate the legal system as a victim of domestic abuse can be a challenging endeavor. For help in the process, contact our Illinois family law attorneys immediately. We have five offices in Illinois, and we are prepared to help you in any way we can.