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Know the Laws: Illinois

UPDATED January 23, 2014

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An order of protection is a civil order that provides protection from someone who is harming you.

The protections offered in each kind of order

back to topHow can an emergency order of protection help me?

In an emergency order, the judge can order the abuser to:

  1. not harass, abuse, stalk, intimidate, physically abuse, neglect or exploit you and not interfere with your personal liberty;
  2. stay away from you or anyone else protected by the order;
  3. stay away from your school, job, or other specific places when you are there;
  4. not take your child out of state and not hide the child within the state;
  5. appear in court with or without your minor child in order to prevent abuse, neglect, removal, or hiding of the child; return the child to your custody/care (and the judge can give you physical care or possession of your child); and/or order the abuser to not remove the child from your physical care;
  6. not take, transfer, hide, damage or get rid of your personal property or property that you co-own with the abuser;
  7. leave or stay away from the residence while s/he is under the influence of alcohol or drugs if it causes a threat to the safety of you or your children;
  8. give up his/her guns, not possess any firearms and turn over any firearm owner’s identification card to local law enforcement until the order of protection expires;
  9. not have access to school or any other records of a child in your care;
  10. reimburse a shelter for your housing and counseling services if applicable;
  11. exclude the abuser from the home where you are living, even if the home is owned or leased by the abuser;*1 and
  12. give you possession of personal property that you solely or jointly own with the abuser.*2
Note: To get the protections listed in numbers 1 – 10 above, the judge must believe that you would likely suffer the harm that the order is trying to protect you from if the abuser was given prior notice of your petition.

To get exclusive possession of the home (listed in #11), the judge must believe that there would be an immediate danger of further abuse by the respondent if s/he was given prior notice and if that immediate danger outweighs the hardship to the respondent of being ordered out of his/her home.*1  See Can I stay in the home that I share with the abuser while I have an emergency order even if I have another place to go? for more information.

To get the possession of personal property (listed in #12), the judge must believe that the respondent would likely get rid of your personal property if s/he were given prior notice or that you have an immediate and pressing need for possession of the property.*2  See What happens to my personal property when I get an emergency order? for more information.

Note: An emergency order will not include an order for counseling, legal custody, support payments, or reimbursing you for costs/damages.*2

* 750 ILCS 60/217(a)(3)(i)
*1 750 ILCS 60/217(a)(3)(ii)
*2 750 ILCS 60/217(a)(3)(iii)

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back to topCan I stay in the home that I share with the abuser while I have an emergency order even if I have another place to go?

Possibly, yes.  If the judge believes that you are in immediate danger of further abuse by the abuser* and this immediate danger outweighs the hardship to him/her of being removed from the home, the judge may give you exclusive possession of home, which means the abuser will be prohibited from entering or staying in the home.  The judge can order this even if the abuser owns or leases the home as long as you have a “right to live in the home,” which means that one of the following is true:

  • the home is solely or jointly owned or leased by
    • you,
    • your spouse,
    • someone who has a legal duty to support you or your child; or
  • the home is owned by anyone other than the abuser who allows you to stay there.**
If you have another place to stay, the abuser can still be excluded from the home unless the hardship to him/her caused by being removed from the home would substantially outweigh the hardship to you if you had to stay somewhere else.*

Note: If the judge prohibits the abuser from entering or staying in the residence, this does not affect his/her ownership of the home.***

* 750 ILCS 60/217(a)(3)(ii)
** 750 ILCS 60/217(a)(3)(ii), 750 ILCS 60/214(b)(2)(A)
*** 750 ILCS 60/214(b)(2)

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back to topIf the abuser and I have both the right to live in the home, how will the judge decide who gets to stay there?

If you and the abuser both have a right to live in the home, the judge will balance the hardship to the abuser (and any minor child or dependent adult in the abuser’s care) that would come from him/her being excluded against the hardship that would be caused to you (and any minor child or dependent adult in your care) if the abuser were not excluded.  The judge will consider whether allowing the abuser to remain in the home may result in:

  • your continued risk of abuse (if you stay in the home with the abuser); or
  • great difficulty to you if you have to find a new place to stay.*
The judge will favor possession by you, unless the abuser shows that the hardship to him/her is substantially more than your hardship (or any minor child or dependent adult in your care).  Note: The judge will not balance the hardship if the abuser does not have a right to live in the residence.*

* 750 ILCS 60/214(b)(2)(B)

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back to topWhat happens to my personal property when I get an emergency order?

If the judge believes that the abuser will take/destroy your personal property if s/he were given prior notice of your petition for the order of protection, the judge can give you possession of personal property that you own alone or that you and the abuser own jointly.  This does not affect the title (ownership) of the property, however.*

To get possession of shared property that you co-own with the abuser, the judge must believe that:

  • sharing the property would put you at risk of abuse or it is impracticable to share it; and
  • when balancing the hardship to both parties, it favors you getting the property.**
Note: If you only want to receive possession of joint marital property, the judge may give you temporary possession only if a proper proceeding has been filed under the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act.**   For more information on this, you may want to consult with a lawyer.  Go to our IL Finding a Lawyer page for more info.

* 750 ILCS 60/214(b)(2)
** 750 ILCS 60/214(b)(10)

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back to topHow can an interim order of protection help me?

An interim order can include all of the protections that you can get in a plenary (final) order of protection except it cannot include an order for counseling, legal custody, support payments, or reimbursing you for costs/damages unless the abuser has filed a general appearance in court or s/he has been personally served.*  For more information, see How can a plenary order of protection help me?

Note: If the abuser appears in court (files a general appearance), s/he will have the right to testify during this hearing.**

* 750 ILCS 60/218(a)
** 750 ILCS 60/218(b)

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back to topHow can a plenary order of protection help me?

A plenary order of protection can order the abuser to:

  • not harass, abuse, stalk, intimidate, physically abuse, neglect or exploit you and not interfere with your personal liberty;
  • be excluded from the home where you are living, even if the home is owned or leased by the abuser;
  • stay away from you or anyone else protected by the order;
  • stay away from your school, job, or other specific places when you are there;
  • leave or stay away from the residence while s/he is under the influence of alcohol or drugs if it causes a threat to the safety of you or your children;
  • stop attending the same public, private, or non-public elementary, middle or high school attended by you.* (Note: See If the abuser and I attend the same school, can I still get an order against him/her? for more information on this scenario.);
  • undergo psychological, substance abuse, or batterers' counseling;
  • not take your child out of state and not hide the child within the state;
  • appear in court with or without your minor child in order to prevent abuse, neglect, removal, or hiding of the child; return the child to your custody/care; and/or order the abuser to not remove the child from your physical care;
  • not take, transfer, hide, damage or get rid of your personal property or property that you co-own with the abuser;
  • pay temporary support for you and/or any child in your care if the abuser has a legal obligation to do so;
  • reimburse you for losses suffered as a result of abuse, such as medical expenses, lost earnings, repairs to damaged property, reasonable attorney fees and court costs, moving and traveling costs (including the costs of temporary shelter and restaurant meals), and the cost of finding/recovering your child if s/he improperly hid or took your child;
  • give up his/her guns, not possess any firearms and turn over any firearm owner’s identification card to local law enforcement until the order of protection expires;
  • not have access to school or any other records of a minor child in your care;
  • reimburse a shelter for your housing and counseling services if applicable; and/or
  • anything else necessary to prevent further abuse.*
A plenary order of protection can give you:
  • physical care and possession of your minor child;**
  • temporary legal custody of your child (and the judge can determine temporary visitation rights for the abuser, if any);*** Note: for more information, see Can the abuser be denied visitation as part of an order of protection?
  • sole possession of your own personal property if the abuser has control over it or sole possession of property that is co-owned by you and the abuser if:
    • sharing the property would put you at risk of abuse or it is impracticable to share it; and
    • when balancing the hardship to both parties, it favors you getting the property.  Note: The decision about who gets possession of the property does not affect title (ownership) of the property.**** Note: If you only want to receive possession of joint marital property, the judge may give you temporary possession only if a proper proceeding has been filed under the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act; and/or
  • custody of any animal owned by you, the abuser or your child (even if your child lives with the abuser) and order the abuser to stay away from the animal and forbid the abuser from taking, harming, or getting rid of the animal.*
Whether a judge orders any or all of the above depends on the facts of your case.

* 750 ILCS 60/214(b)
** 750 ILCS 60/214(b)(5)
*** 750 ILCS 60/214(b)(6)
**** 750 ILCS 60/214(b)(10)

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back to topCan the abuser be denied visitation as part of an order of protection?

Yes.  Visitation can be denied if the judge believes that the respondent has done or is likely to do any of the following:

  • abuse or endanger the child during visitation;
  • use the visitation as an opportunity to abuse or harass you, your family or household members;
  • improperly hide or keep the child; or
  • otherwise act in a way that is not in the best interests of the child.*
Also, even if the abuser is granted visitation, you can refuse to allow him/her to see the minor child if when the abuser arrives for visitation:
  • s/he is under the influence of drugs or alcohol and is a threat to the safety and well-being of you or your children; or
  • s/he is behaving in a violent or abusive manner.*  
However, we strongly suggest that you talk to an attorney about the proper way to document either of these behaviors so that you are not accused of wrongly interfering with the visitation order.   Go to our IL Finding a Lawyer page for legal referrals.

* 750 ILCS 60/214(b)(7)

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back to topIf the abuser and I attend the same school, can I still get an order against him/her?

Yes, but there are many factors the judge must consider first.  When you and the abuser attend the same public, private, or non-public elementary, middle, or high school, the judge has to consider:

  • how severe the abuse was;
  • any continuing physical danger or emotional distress to you;
  • the educational rights guaranteed to both you and the abuser by law;
  • the availability of the abuser getting a transfer to another school;
  • a change of placement/ program of the abuser;
  • the expense, difficulty, and educational disruption that would be caused by a transfer of the abuser to another school; and
  • any other relevant facts of the case.*
After considering the above factors, the judge can order that the abuser:
  • not attend the public, private, or non-public elementary, middle, or high school attended by the you;
  • accept a change of placement/program, as determined by the school district or private or non-public school; or
  • place restrictions on the abuser's movements within the school you attend.*  Note: The parents, guardian, or legal custodian of the abuser are responsible for transportation and other costs associated with the transfer or change.*
The abuser has the burden to prove that a transfer or change of placement/ program is not available to him/her or to prove the expense, difficulty, and educational disruption that would be caused by a transfer to another school.  S/he cannot claim a transfer or change of placement/change of program is unavailable based on:
  • the fact that s/he does not like the one offered by the school district or private or non-public school; or
  • the fact that s/he did not qualify for a transfer due to his/her failure to take whatever actions were required to complete the transfer or change of placement/program.* 
* 750 ILCS 60/214(b)(3)(B)

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