While divorces are often contentious, and parties say harmful things they later regret, usually these cases are not violent in nature. But unfortunately, on occasion, one party is so hurt by the divorce that they feel the need to threaten the other spouse. In some cases, violence and threats are the reasons for the divorce. The laws of Illinois do not require you to put up with this harassment, however. If you feel that your former spouse intends to do you harm, you can seek an order of protection from the court that bars him or her from contacting you.
The First Step: Emergency Orders of Protection
Because any threat of violence is a serious matter, Illinois law allows for someone in fear of their safety to obtain an emergency order of protection from a court without the other side being able to contest it. This emergency order can bar the other party from having any direct or indirect contact with you or your children, but it only lasts for 14 or 21 days before it expires. There are, however, more long-lasting protection orders available.
Obtaining an Interim Order of Protection or Plenary Order of Protection in Illinois
An interim order of protection is a sort of stop-gap solution before a more permanent order of protection can be put into place. It is available when the emergency order of protection is about to expire, and can be put into place for an additional 30 days. As with the emergency order of protection, the person you are seeking the order against does not have to be present in order for the court to grant it, but he or she must receive notice of the hearing.
After an interim order of protection is granted, the court will set a date for the plenary order of protection hearing. The party against whom you are seeking an order of protection will have the opportunity to attend this hearing with or without an attorney. The other side may present testimony and evidence about why the plenary order of protection should not be granted, and it will ultimately be up to the judge to decide whether putting such an order in place is appropriate. Under Illinois law, a plenary order of protection can only be in place for up to two years, although it can be renewed for another two years after that, and there is no limit on how many times a plenary order of protection can be renewed by a court. Any order of protection is legally binding, and you should contact law enforcement immediately if someone is violating an order of protection that has been issued by a court.
Contact an Experienced Attorney
Ending a relationship is never easy, and unfortunately the end of a marriage can be even more complicated. If you are thinking about filing for divorce in DuPage County, you need an experienced divorce attorney on your side who is prepared for anything that might come up in the course of your case. Contact our compassionate DuPage County family law attorneys today for a consultation.