Domestic Violence and Orders of Protection During and After Divorce

As a marriage ends sometimes there is a threat of domestic violence and orders of protection may be needed both during and after the divorce. Divorce stirs up negative emotions, and anger and resentment often increase as communications break down and both parties focus on blame and finding fault.  In an adversarial divorce, tempers can flare to the point where the threat of domestic violence is real and may continue even after the divorce is final.

The skilled and compassionate Illinois family-law attorneys at Wolfe & Stec, Ltd. understand the emotional aspects of divorce and the problems that can lead to domestic violence.  We offer a free consultation to examine your individual situation and provide professional guidance to find solutions that can help protect both you and your children.

Why Might You Need a Protection Order During and After a Divorce

Domestic violence is a crime, and anyone can be a victim, regardless of race, age, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or economic status. Any person, including a divorcing ex-spouse, who hits, chokes, kicks, threatens, harasses, or interferes with the personal liberty of another family or household member has broken domestic violence laws.

It is important to understand what types of behaviors are part of a pattern of domestic violence so you can pursue getting a Protection Order if you fear for the safety of yourself, your children or other loved ones.

Illinois has a Domestic Violence Act (750 ILCS 60/), which defines domestic violence for the purpose of getting an order of protection as any of the following:

  • Physical abuse, including:
    • sexual abuse
    • physical force, confinement or restraint
    • purposeful, repeated and unnecessary sleep deprivation
    • behavior which creates an immediate risk of physical harm, such as driving dangerously with you in the car, forcing you to use drugs or alcohol, or preventing you from calling the police or seeking medical attention.
  • Harassment– unnecessary conduct which causes emotional distress, including:
    • creating a disturbance at or repeatedly telephoning someone’s work or school
    • repeatedly following someone in a public place or places or keeping someone under surveillance
    • threatening physical force, confinement or restraint
    • improperly hiding your child from you or repeatedly threatening to do so.
  • Intimidation of a dependent or harming your children
  • Interference with personal liberty
  • Willful deprivation–purposely denying an elderly or disabled person medication, medical care, shelter, food or other assistance needed.

 Orders of Protection in a Divorce

A person being abused by a divorcing or ex-spouse or other household member can get an Illinois order of protection to protect them, their children, and persons living in their home.

With an Order of Protection, a judge can order an abusive ex to:

  • Stop abusive acts and stay away from you and other people protected by the order
  • Not contact you and move out and stay away from your home, school, property, or work
  • Attend counseling
  • Pay child support, change allocation of parental responsibilities and parenting time, including giving you temporary possession or legal custody of children
  • Prohibit hiding a child from you or taking a child out of state and appear in court or bring a child to court
  • Turn weapons over to local law enforcement.

To obtain an Order of Protection, you can:

  • Have your attorney file in civil court or request a criminal order of protection if criminal charges have been brought against the abuser
  • Request an order with your divorce
  • Contact a local domestic violence program to ask for assistance
  • File for an order yourself in civil court.

In Illinois, an order of protection is issued by civil court.  Petitions for an order of protection may be filed in any county where the victim or abuser lives, where the abuse occurred, or where the victim is temporarily located.  Violating an order of protection is a Class A misdemeanor, with possible jail time of up to 364 days and a $25 fine. A second violation or a violation after conviction of a serious crime against a family or household member can be a felony, with jail time and a $100 fine

If criminal charges have been filed, the state prosecutor brings the case against the abuser.  If the victim decides against pressing charges, the prosecutor might still continue to prosecute.

Types of Orders of Protection

There are three types of orders:

  • Emergency orders — Can be obtained based solely on your testimony to a judge. This is a temporary order that lasts until you can have a full hearing, usually within 14-21 days.
  • Interim order – Lasts up to 30 days. The abuser is first notified and can appear before the judge who can provide protection until a full hearing for a Plenary Order of Protection.
  • Plenary order – Lasts up to 2 years.  This requires a full hearing where the alleged victim and alleged abuser can present evidence in court.

Protection Order Abuse

There are times when divorcing spouses abuse the system by taking out protection orders when no abuse or violence has occurred. This can happen as spouses need to allege only that they feel threatened by their partner to have a judge issue an order.  Men are much more likely to have a protection order taken out against them.

Contact Us

If you are involved in a domestic violence situation, either as a victim or as an accused abuser, you should seek legal counsel.  The skilled family law and criminal defense lawyers at Wolfe & Stec, Ltd. believe each case is unique, with its own set of circumstances. We know the judges and the court system and will aggressively explore every avenue to make sure you are protected.

Divorce and family law issues always have the potential to stir up psychological problems and negative emotions.  Fortunately, there is help available, and you may find comfort in knowing a lawyer is on your side. The seasoned attorneys at Wolfe & Stec handle all Illinois family law cases with sensitivity, respect, and discretion.

At Wolfe & Stec, Ltd., we made our reputation one client at a time, and we put every ounce of our ability into every case.  There are no ready-made solutions in divorce and family law – every case needs to be considered on its own merit. Our lawyers take the time to delve deeply into the problem and to understand your goals and concerns. Then we develop a legal strategy designed to achieve those objectives.

Delaying can only complicate your situation and make matters worse.  Call us today for your free consultation at 630-305-0222 or contact our team online. Our experienced and compassionate Illinois lawyers represent clients in DuPage County, Will County, Cook County, Naperville, Aurora, Wheaton, Downers Grove and Bolingbrook, Illinois and the entire Chicagoland area.

Attorney Natalie Stec

Natalie M. Stec, born and raised in Illinois, and earned her Bachelor of Science from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Her practice has been concentrated in significant pre and post decree marital and family law cases; including custody, visitation, support, and paternity matters. She has important criminal defense experience in both misdemeanor and felony cases. She is a very dedicated and passionate litigator. [ Attorney Bio ]

Recent Family Law Results

During trial four experts all testified against our client the Judge found it was in the best interest of the child that our client be awarded custody. We have successfully represented clients in numerous child custody cases.

Child Custody

We recently analyzed a case whereby the opposing side was seeking a substantial award of maintenance against our client. After a thorough review of the facts and circumstances and several hearings, our client’s obligation to pay maintenance was limited to two years at half of what his former spouse was seeking.

Alimony (Maintenance/Support)

After our client voluntarily changed employment we were able to obtain a substantial reduction in child support payments. We have also stopped such reductions when representing clients receiving child support.

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Woodridge Illinois Law Firm

3321 Hobson Road, Suite B
Woodridge, IL 60517
Phone: 630-305-0222

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