Domestic violence is unfortunately a common reason as to why a person would seek a divorce and request assistance from the law. An order of protection may be obtained if an individual is fearful for his or her safety or well-being. If a person’s former spouse does not adhere to the terms of this type of court order, consequences such as fines and/or jail time could result.
What Is an Order of Protection?
In the state of Illinois, an order of protection is a civil court ruling that provides a safeguard for victims of domestic violence or other crimes. These protective orders can be procured on an emergency basis when an individual is likely to be the victim of injury or abuse. An order of protection falls under what is known as the Illinois Domestic Violence Act. This law offers protection to victims that are abused by a family or household member, which can include:
A spouse – current or former
A dating partner – current or former
People that share a common residence
Parent, child, stepchild, or person related by blood or marriage
People who have a child in common
People who share a blood relationship through a child
A personal assistant to a disabled person
An order of protection will prohibit an alleged abuser from committing any further acts of harassment, abuse, or intimidation, and it will usually prohibit them from having any contact with the protected parties. Depending on the needs of the alleged victim, an order of protection may also make temporary decisions about possession of a family home or other personal property or the allocation of parental responsibility for the couple’s children.
Repercussions for Violating an Order of Protection in Illinois
A person may be in violation of an order of protection if they do not appropriately act upon the ruling of the court. For example, if the alleged abuser were to knowingly carry out an action that was prohibited by the judge, he or she would be in violation of the law. In these cases, the alleged victim, law enforcement officials, or an agency such as the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) may file a contempt petition with the court.
The severity of the criminal consequences for violating an order of protection will depend on the offender’s criminal history. If a person has no previous charges on their criminal record, violation of an order of protection would be a Class A misdemeanor. However, if the defendant has any prior convictions related to domestic battery, a previous violation of an order of protection, or any prior convictions under the law of another jurisdiction for similar offenses, they may face Class 4 felony charges.
Should I Get an Order of Protection?
If you believe that there is any imminent danger to yourself, your children, your family members, or a romantic partner, an order of protection could provide you with security and peace of mind. Violence, sexual assault, stalking, and threats are all grounds for an order of protection to be issued. Every situation is different, but by speaking to an attorney about your situation, you can determine your best options for obtaining the protection you need, as well as the legal actions you can take to dissolve your marriage and settle any issues related to your divorce.
Contact a Wheaton, IL Family Law Attorney
Domestic violence is a serious issue faced by many divorcing spouses, and an order of protection can be granted in order to defend those who need help escaping an abusive relationship. At the Andrew Cores Family Law Group, our attorneys will help you understand your legal options, and we will fight for your rights throughout your divorce. For a free consultation with one of our dedicated DuPage County order of protection lawyers, contact our office today at 630-871-1002.