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Keys to Understanding, Enforcing Your Order of Protection

Posted on in Order of Protection

Keys to Understanding, Enforcing Your Order of ProtectionOrders of protection exist to shield victims from their domestic abusers and help them establish independence. Escaping an abuser is not always as simple as leaving them. The victim may be worried about:

  • Where they will live;
  • How they can protect their children;
  • How they can support themselves; and
  • How they can prevent their abuser from retaliating against them.

An order of protection can solve these problems. The abuser can be required to leave the victim’s residence and stay away while the order is active. The children will stay with the victim and may have limited visits with the abuser if the court determines it to be safe. The court can require the abuser to pay child support and other expenses. However, an order of protection is effective only if it is being enforced. You must understand what your order can do and how you should respond if you suspect your abuser is violating the order.

Terms of the Order

Orders of protection in Illinois offer 17 remedies to be used against the alleged abuser, who is also called the respondent. The remedies include all of the benefits mentioned above, as well as others that may apply in specific situations. You must select the remedies you wish to use in the order. Overlooking a remedy could leave you vulnerable in ways that you are not expecting.

You also must understand that the first order of protection is an emergency order that lasts no longer than 21 days and cannot require the respondent to make support payments. A plenary order can last as long as two years and will allow all of the remedies. A judge will determine whether a plenary order is appropriate by examining evidence and listening to testimony, including from the respondent.

Enforcing the Order

A respondent cannot be in violation of an order of protection until they have been made aware of it, usually by being served notice of the order. A court can grant an order without notifying the respondent only if the petitioner proves that there is an immediate threat from the respondent. An order of protection works as a deterrent by establishing civil and criminal penalties if the respondent violates its terms. As the petitioner, it is your responsibility to take appropriate action if the respondent violates the order:

  • For civil violations such as failure to pay support, you can file a complaint with the court that the respondent is in contempt of the order; and
  • For criminal violations such as threatening you, you should contact the police, who may arrest the respondent.

Contact a Kane County Family Law Attorney

You do not have to file an order of protection on your own. A St. Charles, Illinois, family law lawyer at Goostree Law Group can help with filing an emergency order and obtaining a plenary order. Schedule a free consultation by calling 630-584-4800.


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