Domestic Violence and Orders of Protection

A charge under the Domestic Violence Act is very serious and must be pursued or defended with thoughtful and competent representation.

The Illinois Domestic Violence Act seeks to prevent repeated physical abuse and harassment among family, household members and disabled adults. The term “family members” includes persons related by blood, persons who are or were married, persons who share the home, apartment or other dwelling, dating couples, and persons with disabilities. An Order of Protection is a court order that prohibits an abuser from physical abuse, harassment, interfering with personal liberty, using physical force against or the confinement of another, or willfully denying a disabled or elderly person medication, medical services, shelter, or other needs. A person could also violate of the Domestic Violence Act by committing acts of “neglect,” such as failing to take necessary steps to protect high-risk adults with disabilities or withholding necessities of life for that individual.

Often domestic violence actions are emergency matters that require immediate attention and a good understanding of the court system to achieve needed protection. Generally, Emergency Orders of Protection are entered by the court without notice to the alleged abuser. An Emergency Order of Protection is valid for no less than 14 or more than 21 days. If the alleged abuser was served with notice of the hearing, the court may enter an Interim Order of Protection effective for up to 30 days. Finally, after an evidentiary hearing, the court may enter a Plenary Order of Protection effective for up to two years. All Orders of Protection may provide for a prohibition of abuse, exclusive possession of the marital residence, stay-away orders, or the physical care and possession of minor children.

Violation of an Order of Protection is a crime if a person knowingly disobeys the order. Also, any law enforcement officer who has probable cause to believe that a person has violated or is violating an Order of Protection, even if the act was not committed in the presence of the officer, may make an arrest without a warrant. In addition to the Domestic Violence Act, Illinois has adopted a Stalking No Contact Order Act, which has many provisions that parallel the Domestic Violence Act.

A charge under the Domestic Violence Act is very serious and must be pursued or defended with thoughtful and competent representation. Schiller DuCanto & Fleck LLP has Chicago family law attorneys who participated in drafting the Illinois Domestic Violence Act and its various amendments and have an intimate understanding and knowledge of the law. The Chicago area firm’s litigation attorneys are experienced in litigating domestic violence matters and resolving them favorably for our clients.

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