Orders of Protection in Illinois
DuPage County Family Law Lawyers
An order of protection is a court order that requires an individual to stay away from another individual, a residence, or another location as a result of actual, or alleged, harm to a victim. While this harm is usually physical, it can also include perceived threats or other acts of abuse upon household members, spouses, or children. While orders of protection usually come up in a domestic violence context, orders for protection or history thereof, may have implications on a pending divorce, child custody, or other family law matters. As a full-service family law firm in Glen Ellyn, Illinois, Mulyk Laho Law, LLC represents both those that are seeking to impose or enforce orders of protection and those that have been accused of misconduct resulting in an order of protection being entered against them.
What is an Order of Protection?
Orders of protection are designed to shield victims from unwanted contact or injury from alleged aggressors. While these orders usually forbid individuals from taking a certain action (visiting a residence, speaking to a specific individual), orders of protection may also require an alleged offender to take a certain action pertaining to another individual regarding their relationship or children. Usually, there has been an action or actions that have led the victim to fear the alleged assailant to prompt them filing a petition for an order of protection. The order may be imposed to protect themselves or other members of their family, especially children. Filing an order of protection properly requires notice to the party it is being filed against, and they have an opportunity to respond to the allegations against them. It is strongly encouraged to have an attorney present at these hearings for both sides-- orders of protection are serious, enforceable, and difficult to appeal.
In emergency situations, a court may order a temporary restraining order (or emergency order of protection), which is designed to prevent abusive behavior immediately, but these orders are in effect for a lesser time period and must be re-examined by the court at a later time. These orders may not require notice to the offending party, though later court dates to determine the validity and possible longevity of the order will allow the alleged offender an opportunity to have their side of the story heard in court.
Should I File an Order of Protection?
You should file an order of protection if you feel you or your family’s safety is compromised, you have repeatedly asked the offender to stop a series of behavior, and/or if you have been physically or verbally abused in any manner. Orders of protection can be filed against nearly anyone that shares your household, that you share a child with regardless of whether you are married or unmarried, that you are or have been in a romantic relationship with, or those that have previously cohabitated together. If your only intent is to harass or intimidate the named individual in an order of protection, you should not file an order of protection. Making allegations that later turn out to be untrue or unsubstantiated is a waste of judicial resources and can seriously harm the emotions and reputation of the accused individual, even if an order is not entered against them. There may be other legal ways to accomplish your goals without ruining your partner’s reputation and bringing false claims before a court of law.
If you decide to file an order of protection, it is critical to consult with an experienced family law attorney before doing so. There are certain procedures that must be followed in order for your petition to be properly filed, plus is can be difficult to determine the appropriate judicial district to file your petition in or to know what you must submit to the court.
What if an Order of Protection Has Been Filed Against Me?
If an emergency order has been filed against you, you must comply with the terms of the order beginning immediately so as not to be in violation of the terms. If you receive notice that a petition has been filed, make sure you make yourself available for the court date.
Unfortunately, some people use orders of protection as a weapon to spite their partners during a divorce or as an effort to taint the alleged offender’s image so the alleged victim may be a more favorable choice for custody of marital children. False allegations do not only potentially constitute perjury, but they waste judicial resources and take time away from real victims of domestic violence. When an individual has been falsely accused of physical or emotional violence, a strong defense is key. If these charges are not mitigated, an innocent person may suffer irreparable damage to their emotional, professional, and family life.
If you have not committed the acts that you are accused of, you are entitled to defend yourself at the petition hearing. Having the aid of knowledgeable family law attorneys familiar with the specifics of orders of protection greatly improves your chances of avoiding an order of protection being entered against you and will ensure that your reputation and relationship with your children and other family members will remain intact.
Glen Ellyn Family Law Attorneys
If you are the petitioner or the recipient of an order of protection in the State of Illinois, our experienced Glen Ellyn family law attorneys can help you through the process. We believe that there are two sides to every story, and we work hard to ensure that our client’s interests are protected and advanced in court. Our convenient Glen Ellyn law office serves the greater DuPage area; feel free to contact our office for a complimentary 30-minute initial consultation regarding the legal services our office provides at 630-852-1100.