Get an Order of Protection in Chicago

Chicagoland Domestic Violence Attorneys

Domestic violence is a serious threat that no one should have to endure. A victim of domestic violence or abuse may require an order of protection to shield them from their abuser.

The Chicago domestic violence lawyers at the Law Offices of Jonathan Merel, P.C. are experienced in handling these difficult family law issues with skill and sensitivity. We routinely help victims of physical, emotional, and verbal abuse obtain relief in the form of an order of protection or civil restraining order, whether dealing with an isolated incident or a long history of abuse.

Contact us online or call (312) 487-2795 now! Our domestic violence attorneys in Chicago can help you file for an order of protection so that you can feel safe at home again.

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When to Seek an Order of Protection / Restraining Order

Whether you have already suffered abuse or you have simply been threatened with abuse, you should seek protection immediately. Fearing for your safety is grounds for an order of protection.

Orders of protection and civil restraining orders are court orders that serve to protect the victims of abuse, neglect, intimidation, harassment, and/or domestic violence. An order of protection will prevent the abuser from contacting you, approaching you, living with you, owning a gun, and contacting/visiting with children you have together, if applicable.

Protective orders may also be obtained for:

  • Child abuse
  • Elder abuse
  • Stalking
  • Abuse by a boyfriend/girlfriend or other family members

Types of Protective Orders in Cook County

Cook County Circuit Court classifies an order of protection in one of three capacities based upon the imminent threat the petitioner is experiencing at the time of filing:

  • Emergency Order of Protection – Emergency protective orders are issued by judges who feel the petitioner is in the gravest danger. These cases almost always involve physical violence or tangible evidence of a threat, along with a police report documenting the incident(s). A judge can enter an emergency order of protection without notifying the respondent until after it has already been granted. Emergency orders of protection are intended to quickly eradicate or prevent future abuse and only last 14 to 21 days.
  • Interim Order of Protection – This is a temporary order lasting up to 30 days. A judge may grant an interim order of protection while waiting for a hearing or a trial. This type of order is typically entered while the the respondent is being notified of an order of protection hearing. An interim order can include all of the protections of a plenary order of protection except an order for counseling; legal custody; support payments; or reimbursement for costs/damages, unless the abuser filed a general appearance in court or has been personally served. If the abuser appears in court (files a general appearance), then s/he has the right to testify at the hearing.
  • Plenary Order of Protection – This order is entered after the accuser and you have presented your arguments at a hearing in front of a judge. This is the final order stemming from either an emergency or interim order. Some of the outcomes of securing a plenary order of protection include: setting limits regarding a radius to where your abuser cannot come near you; being excluded from your home, even if their name is on the lease; inability to contact you by phone, at work, or at school; and even temporary legal custody of your child(ren). This type of order may last for up to two years.

Types of Domestic Violence in Illinois

A common misconception about domestic violence is that if no physical harm has occurred, it is not considered abuse. This could not be further from the truth. Many instances of abuse go unnoticed merely because they do not leave physical marks on a victim, but not all domestic abuse is physical. There are five different types of domestic abuse.

  1. Physical Abuse – Signs of physical abuse include, but are not limited to: bruises, scars, broken bones, and scratches. Physical abuse is treated seriously in domestic violence cases and victims are likely to receive an order of protection against the offender.
  2. Psychological Abuse – This is defined as "instilling or attempting to instill fear in another person." Some forms of psychological abuse include intimidation, threatening physical harm, threatening to harm or kidnap children, blackmail, harassment, threatening to damage property, and stalking. Because the effects of psychological abuse are often not as outwardly apparent, psychological abuse can be harder to prove in court.
  3. Sexual Abuse – Adults and children can be victims of sexual abuse. Sexual abuse is both actual coercion and the attempt to coerce sexual contact from the victim without their consent. Sexual abuse can include derogatory sexual behavior by the offender; rape; sodomy; forced prostitution; criticizing sexual performance; withholding sex; or fondling.
  4. Economic Abuse – This occurs when the abuser makes or attempts to make the victim financially dependent on them. This is most common among partners who are married, live together, or share significant assets. Economic abuse can include maintaining total control over financial resources; withholding money or access to money; forbidding school attendance; forbidding employment; harassment at work; tracking spending; and even forced welfare fraud.
  5. Emotional Abuse – This occurs when the abuser undermines or attempts to undermine the victim’s sense of self worth. Similar to psychological abuse, emotional abuse can be hard to prove in court. Examples of emotional abuse include constant criticism, belittling, name-calling, insults, "the silent treatment," manipulation, gaslighting, guilt-tripping, and sabotaging a partner’s relationship with their children.

Domestic Violence & Child Custody in Illinois

In a child custody case, if one parent has a history of committing domestic violence, then a Cook County Court judge will strongly consider this fact in making a child custody determination. An experienced domestic violence lawyer will also be sure to confront the issue of domestic violence with great frequency.

Every situation is different, but the severity and frequency of the domestic violence committed will always impact the aggressor’s chances at obtaining custody, or the frequency of their visitation with their child. The court will order a parent’s visitation privileges to be supervised if the well-being of the child is seriously endangered by the actions of that one parent.

Does domestic violence exist in your custody case? If so, then it is imperative that you retain an attorney who knows how to address it in court, obtain the appropriate relief for the victim, and act with the best interests of his client and the children in mind.

Defending Those Wrongfully Accused of Domestic Violence

Our Chicago domestic violence lawyers are also experienced at defending clients who have been wrongly accused and have an order of protection entered against them based upon the false claims. An order of protection or restraining order can limit your rights, prevent you from seeing your children, and have a serious impact on your daily life. It is crucial that you seek representation right away if there has been an order of protection entered against you.

Call us right away at (312) 487-2795 if you have a case involving domestic violence or an order of protection.

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