Know the Laws: Illinois
UPDATED April 27, 2016
An order of protection is a civil order that provides protection from a family or household member who has committed acts of domestic violence against you or your minor child. Also, any person living or employed at a private home or public shelter which houses an abused family or household member may also be eligible to apply for an order of protection.
You can file an order of protection against a family or household member who has committed acts of domestic violence against you or your minor child. Also, the following other people may apply: any high-risk adult with disabilities who is abused, neglected, or exploited by a family or household member; any minor child or dependent adult in the care of such person; and any person living or employed at a private home or public shelter which houses an abused family or household member may also be eligible to apply for an order of protection.*You can file for an order of protection for yourself and/or your minor child(ren). A minor may also be able to file on his/her own. See Can a minor file for an order of protection? for more information.
A family or household member includes a:
In Illinois, you may apply for an order of protection against a current or former same-sex partner as long as the relationship meets the requirements listed in Who is eligible for an order of protection? You must also be the victim of an act of domestic violence, which is explained here What is the legal definition of domestic violence in Illinois?
Illinois law states that a person will not be denied an order of protection simply because s/he is a minor filing for an order without an adult.* Sometimes a minor is able to get an order of protection without an adult. However, it may be more difficult to do so when the minor is filing against a parent or legal guardian. For instance, in Cook County, there is a court rule that states minors must have a parent or guardian filing on their behalf.**
* 750 ILCS 60/214(a)
** Circuit Court of Cook County website
There are no fees for filing for an order of protection or for having the papers served on the abuser by the sheriff. Also, the court clerk cannot charge a fee for filing, amending (changing), vacating (dismissing), certifying, or photocopying petitions or order of protection.*
You do not need a lawyer to file for an order of protection. However, you may wish to have a lawyer, especially if the abuser has a lawyer. If you can, contact a lawyer to make sure that your legal rights are protected. If you cannot afford a lawyer but want one to help you with your case, you can find information for low-cost legal assistance on the IL Finding a Lawyer page.
Domestic violence organizations in your area may also be able to help you through the legal process, or may be able to give you a lawyer referral.
* 750 ILCS 60/202(b)