If you find yourself in a situation where you fear for your safety, you can file to obtain an order of protection. Once the order is filed, the other party is to stay away from you until a final resolution is put in place. Sometimes, that order is in effect for several years or the rest of your life. Most orders include refraining from detailed types of contact aside from only physical contact. When you file for an order of protection, there are two types that could be given. The most common would be if you are in a domestic partnership with another person and feel that you need to be protected from that person after a situation arises. The other type is a no stalking and no contact order. This is usually for those who aren’t in a domestic partnership with another person but who still feel as though they need to be protected from the other party.
Who Can File?
Anyone can file to get an order of protection. If you are the one who is securing the order, then you would be considered the petitioner. The person who receives the order is the respondent. Other people can be included in the order as needed, such as family members or friends of the respondent. You can also include other people who are protected in the order, such as your spouse, family members, or children. When you file the order, you need to be able to show that there is a relationship present in some way between the respondent and the person who has been abused or who have been alleged to be abused. Common relationships include parents and children, spouses, and even roommates who have issues arise that result in some kind of abusive relationship. Healthcare providers can also be included in an order of protection if there are suspicions that any kind of abuse has occurred or there is a fear for the person’s safety.
The types of contact that are prohibited between the respondent and the petitioner vary based on the allegations that are brought forth when the order is secured. The judge can decide on the best remedy for the situation based on the details that are given when you obtain the order. Stalking, harassment, physical contact, and making contact by phone or email are usually the most common forms that are prohibited in protection orders.
What is an Order of Protection?
An order of protection is commonly referred to as a restraining order and is an order from a judge that prohibits an individual from having types of contact with another person pursuant to the Illinois Domestic Violence Act of 1986. There must be a domestic relationship between the person petitioning the court for an order of protection and the person against whom the order is issued.
How Can You Obtain an Order of Protection?
A petitioner may ask the court for an order of protection against the respondent on their own behalf or as the parent or legal guardian of a minor child. The respondent must have a close tie to the petitioner or the person to be protected by the order, such as a spouse, former spouse, parent or guardian, child, close relative or roommate. Being in a dating relationship or engagement is also considered a sufficiently close relationship to apply for an order of protection. The burden is on the petitioner to show the court that they have been violated or are in danger of being harmed by the respondent.
Upon filing the written petition, there will be a hearing in front of a judge. At that time, the judge will decide whether the order is merited. The respondent is not in court for this hearing. If the judge grants the order, it will first be issued on an emergency basis. The respondent will be served by the court with a notice of the emergency order and will be summoned to appear in court within a few weeks for a full hearing. Then, the judge will grant an interim order so that the restrictions stay in place while both parties prepare for a full hearing. Finally, the court may issue a plenary order of protection, which may be in effect for up to two years. It may also be extended by the court for good cause.
What Types of Behavior and Conduct are Restricted by an Order of Protection?
A judge may specify what type of conduct that the respondent is not allowed to engage in with the petitioner. This commonly includes not returning to the home, no harassment or stalking, no interference with the petitioner’s freedom and daily activities, no social media contact, no phone contact and no contact with the petitioner through third parties. If the petitioner and respondent have a child together, the petitioner will likely be granted sole custody of their minor child while the order of protection is in effect. The respondent may be prohibited from showing up at known places, such as employment or school, where the petitioner frequents. The respondent is prohibited from owning a firearm when the order of protection is in effect. There may also be a requirement for the respondent to attend counseling. The judge may allow the respondent to return to the joint home at a scheduled time in order to collect their possessions under the supervision of a third party.
Pursuant to Section 217 of 750 ILCS 60, a petitioner must show the court that good cause exists to have an emergency order of protection granted. The petitioner must demonstrate that they are the threat of danger is significant enough to justify that an emergency order be issued without prior notice to the respondent. An emergency order may require the respondent to refrain from contacting the petitioner and their minor children, leave the residence and relinquish possession of any firearms. For more burdensome forms of injunctive relief through an order of protection, the respondent would be entitled to notice of a hearing and the chance to appear in court.
An emergency order of protection can be in place for up to 21 days before the respondent is entitled to a hearing. The judge who grants the order notifies the sheriff to serve notice upon the respondent.
Interim Order of Protection
An interim order of protection may be issued in accordance with Section 218 of 750 ILCS 60 after the respondent is provided with notice to appear in court to testify. The respondent may request that the court re-open the hearing if he can show that he did not receive proper notice to appear. An interim order of protection can be granted for up to 30 days at a time. The petitioner may seek additional orders of protection at the expiration of the 30-day period in the event that the parties have not yet appeared at a final hearing for a plenary order of protection. The interim order may impose additional restrictions upon the respondent, but the court does not have the authority to require that the respondent attend counseling until a plenary order of protection is issued.
Plenary Order of Protection
According to Section 219 of 750 ILCS 60, a plenary order of protection may be issued after a respondent has notice of the hearing and the petitioner has met the requirements to show that they or their minor children are in danger or have been already harmed by the respondent. The judge can determine the length of time that a plenary order of protection will remain in effect, but it cannot exceed two years. A petitioner may request that an order of protection be extended if the threat of danger to the petitioner has not changed.
Notice of Orders of Protection
After an order of protection has been issued, the court clerk enters the order in the court records. The respondent is served by the sheriff unless he was present at the hearing when the order was granted. If an order of protection prohibits the respondent from accessing health or school records related to the petitioner or their minor children, the petitioner may serve a certified copy of the order on any educational institution or healthcare facility. The school or healthcare provider must comply with the order and is prohibited from releasing any of the covered medical records to the petitioner.