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Sometimes a relationship turns south and becomes abusive. Unfortunately, it’s hard to realize when your relationship has become abusive and when you need to leave. The good news is that once you have made that decision, obtaining a protective order can help keep you safe.
The Illinois Domestic Violence Act (IDVA) prohibits household and family members from abusive acts.
Abusive acts are defined as:
Intimidating a dependent or child;
Interfering with personal liberty; and/or
The First Step
If you are being abused, as defined above, you have two choices. You can either (1) file criminal charges by going to the police station and reporting the abuse, or you can (2) take civil action by asking the court for an order of protection.
If you choose to take a civil action, you need to go to the court and file a petition with the help of the court clerk. You will need to complete a written petition in which you will explain in detail the abuse you have received. The judge will then review your petition (without your testimony) and enter a temporary order of protection if he discerns there is abuse. This temporary order will last for 14 to 21 days and will prohibit the abuser from entering your home or continuing any abuse.
When the court issues a temporary order of protection, it will set a hearing date for a protective order hearing. At the hearing, the court will decide whether a plenary protection order is necessary. During this hearing, both the abuser and you will have the opportunity to testify to the judge. As the accuser, you will testify first and go through all the abusive acts in detail. However, you can only speak of the abusive acts that you stated in your petition; therefore, you need to put thought into your initial petition and make sure you put all abusive acts within. You may also call additional witnesses to testify to the abuse and its effects.
The abuser will also get the chance to testify and call witnesses in his/her defense. At the end of the hearing, the judge will decide whether or not to issue a plenary protection order. If the judge issues the protective order, it will last for up to 2 years.
In addition to ordering an abuser to stay away from you, a protective order can clarify household issues. This order can clarify visitation rights of the abuser if there are shared children. The visitation order can include where and how to pick-up and drop-off the children so that you feel safe. If there was abuse of the children, as well, the protective order can include your children and deny visitation completely or order supervised visitation. This order can also include payments of joint bills including mortgage payments.Obtaining a protective order can be stressful and scary. Our experienced Hinsdale family law attorneys can answer any questions you may have and represent you at all protection order hearings in the future. Please contact us for a consultation.