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Legal Information: Illinois

Illinois Restraining Orders

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Restraining Orders

Orders of Protection

An order of protection is a civil order that provides protection for any of the following people:

  1. victims of domestic violence;
  2. a high-risk adult with disabilities who is abused, neglected, or exploited by a family or household member;
  3. a person living or employed at a private home or public shelter that houses an abused family or household member;
  4. any of the following people if they are abused by the family or household member of a child:
    • a foster parent of that child;
    • a legally-appointed guardian or legally-appointed custodian of that child;
    • an adoptive parent of that child; or
    • a prospective adoptive parent of that child.

Basic info

What is the legal definition of domestic violence in Illinois?

For the purposes of getting an order of protection, domestic violence is defined as any of the following:

  • Physical abuse - the law defines this as:
    • sexual abuse;
    • physical force, confinement or restraint;
    • purposeful, repeated and unnecessary sleep deprivation; or
    • behavior which creates an immediate risk of physical harm.1
  • Harassment - unnecessary conduct which causes you emotional distress. The law assumes the following to be harassment:
    • creating a disturbance at your work or school;
    • repeatedly telephoning your work or school;
    • repeatedly following you in a public place or places;
    • repeatedly keeping you under surveillance by staying outside of your home, school, work, vehicle or another place you are in or by peering through your windows;
    • threatening physical force, confinement or restraint on one or more occasions; or
    • improperly hiding your child from you or repeatedly threatening to do so, repeatedly threatening to improperly remove your child from your physical care or from the state, or making a single one of these threats following an actual or attempted improper removal or hiding of your child; (Note: There is an exception for someone who is accused of doing this if s/he was fleeing an incident or pattern of domestic violence).2
  • Intimidation of a dependent (someone can be “dependent” on the abuser because of age, health or disability) - this is defined as when the abuser makes you participate in or witness physical force, physical confinement, or restraint against any person (regardless of whether that person is a family or household member).3
  • Interference with personal liberty - this is defined as committing or threatening to commit physical abuse, harassment, intimidation or deprivation (i.e., not giving you food, medicine, or shelter) with the intention of forcing you to do something you don’t want to do or not allowing you to do something that you have a right to do.4
  • Willful deprivation – this is defined as purposely denying an elderly or disabled person the medication, medical care, shelter, food or other assistance that s/he needs, thereby putting that person at risk of physical, mental or emotional harm.5

1 750 ILCS 60/103(1),(14)
2 750 ILCS 60/103 (1),(7)
3 750 ILCS 60/103 (1),(10)
4 750 ILCS 60/103 (1),(9)
5 750 ILCS 60/103 (1),(15)

What is the definition of a family or household member?

A family or household member includes a:

  • spouse or ex-spouse;
  • boyfriend or girlfriend, or someone you date or used to date;
  • parent, step-parent or grandparent;
  • child or step-child;
  • person who you have a child in common with, even if you have never been married to the other parent nor lived together;
  • person who you share or allegedly share a blood relationship with through a child (such as your child’s grandfather);
  • person related to you by blood or by your present or former marriage;
  • person who you live with or have lived with in the past; and/or
  • your personal assistant or caregiver if you are disabled.1

1 750 ILCS 60/103(6)

What types of orders of protection are available? How long do they last?

There are three types of orders. Emergency and interim orders of protection provide temporary, short-term protection. A plenary order offers longer-term protection.

Emergency orders. An emergency order can be obtained based solely on your testimony to a judge. The judge can grant this order ex parte (without prior notice to the abuser and without him/her being in court) if the harm you are trying to prevent would be likely to happen if s/he is notified that you applied for the order.1In order to get the abuser removed from your shared home, the judge must believe that the immediate danger of further abuse outweighs the hardship to the abuser of being suddenly removed from his/her home.2 You may also be able to get possession of personal property in an emergency order if the judge believes that the abuser would likely get rid of the property if s/he knew you were asking the judge for it or if you have an immediate and pressing need for possession of that property.3

You can file for an emergency order even on holidays and weekends or when the court is closed at night. You can file a petition for a 21-day emergency order before any available circuit judge or associate judge.4 The emergency order will last until you can have a full hearing for a plenary order, usually within 14-21 days.5

Interim orders. You do not need to have a full court hearing to be granted an interim order. However, the abuser (or possibly his/her lawyer) must have made an initial appearance before the court or the abuser must have been notified of the date of your court hearing before you can be given an interim order.6 Interim orders are often used to protect you in between the time when your emergency order expires and your full court hearing for a plenary order takes place. An interim order lasts for up to 30 days.7

Plenary orders. A plenary order of protection can be issued only after a court hearing in which you and the abuser both have a chance to present evidence. A plenary order may last up to two years,8 and there is no limit on the number of times an order of protection can be renewed.9 See How do I change or extend my order of protection? for more information on renewing an order. You may want to have a lawyer represent you in the hearing, especially if you believe the abuser will have a lawyer. Go to our IL Finding a Lawyer page for legal referrals.

1 750 ILCS 60/217(a)(3)(i)
2 750 ILCS 60/217(a)(3)(ii)
3 750 ILCS 60/217(a)(3)(iii)
4 750 ILCS 60/217(c)(1)
5 750 ILCS 60/220(a)(1)
6 750 ILCS 60/218(a)(3)
7 750 ILCS 60/220(a)(2)
8 750 ILCS 60/220(b)
9 750 ILCS 60/220(e)

Can I bring an advocate to court with me for support?

The law allows domestic abuse advocates to help victims of abuse while they prepare their petitions. Also, you can have an advocate sit next to you at the table in the courtroom and confer (talk) with you during the hearing, unless the judge says otherwise.1

1 750 ILCS 60/205(b)

In which county can I file for an order of protection?

A petition for an order of protection may be filed in any county where you live, where the abuser lives, where the abuse occurred or where you are temporarily located if you left your home to avoid further abuse and could not obtain safe temporary housing in the county where your home is located. However, if you are asking for the abuser to be removed from the home (known as “exclusive possession”) as part of your order of protection, you can ONLY file in the county where the home is located1unless you meet one of the following exceptions (and then you can file in the county or judicial circuit where the residence is located or in a neighboring county or judicial circuit):

  1. you are also filing for a divorce in addition to the order of protection;2 or
  2. you have fled to a different county to escape the abuse. However, in this case, you can only get exclusive possession of the home by a judge in a neighboring county as part of an emergency order. The case would then have to be transferred to the county where the home is located to get exclusive possession in an interim or plenary order.3

1 750 ILCS 60/209(a)
2 750 ILCS 60/209(b)(1)
3 750 ILCS 60/209(b)(2)

If the abuser lives in a different state, can I still get an order against him/her?

When you and the abuser live in different states, the judge may not have “personal jurisdiction” (power) over an out-of-state abuser. This means that the court may not be able to grant an order against him/her.

There are a few ways that a court can have personal jurisdiction over an out-of-state abuser:

  1. The abuser has a substantial connection to your state. Perhaps the abuser regularly travels to your state to visit you, for business, to see extended family, or the abuser lived in your state and recently fled.
  2. One of the acts of abuse “happened” in your state. Perhaps the abuser sends you threatening texts or harassing phone calls from another state but you read the messages or answer the calls while you are in your state. The judge could decide that the abuse “happened” to you while you were in your state. It may also be possible that the abuser was in your state when s/he abused you s/he but has since left the state.
  3. If you file your petition and the abuser gets served with the court petition while s/he is in your state, this is another way for the court to get jurisdiction.

However, even if none of the above apply to your situation, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you can’t get an order. If you file, you may be granted an order on consent or the judge may find other circumstances that allow the order to be granted.

You can read more about personal jurisdiction in our Court System Basics - Personal Jurisdiction section.

Note: If the judge in your state refuses to issue an order, you can file for an order in the courthouse in the state where the abuser lives. However, remember that you will likely need to file the petition in person and attend various court dates, which could be difficult if the abuser’s state is far away.

Who can get an order of protection

Who is eligible for an order of protection?

The following people can be eligible for an order of protection:

  1. a person abused by a family or household member;
  2. a high-risk adult with disabilities who is abused, neglected, or exploited by a family or household member;
  3. a minor child or dependent adult in the care of the abused person or high-risk adult mentioned above;
  4. a person living or employed at a private home or public shelter that houses an abused family or household member; and
  5. any of the following people if they are abused by the family or household member of a child:
    • a foster parent of that child;
    • a legally-appointed guardian or legally-appointed custodian of that child;
    • an adoptive parent of that child; or
    • a prospective adoptive parent of that child.1

As mentioned in #3 above, 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.

Note: When it comes to filing the actual petition in court, anyone can file on behalf of:

  • a minor child or an adult who has been abused by a family or household member who cannot file a petition because of age, health, disability or inaccessibility; or
  • a high-risk adult with disabilities who has been abused, neglected, or exploited by a family or household member.2

1 750 ILCS 60/201(a)
2 750 ILCS 60/201(b)

Can I file for an order of protection against a same-sex partner?

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?

You can find information about LGBTQIA victims of abuse and what types of barriers they may face on our LGBTQIA Victims page.

Can a minor file for an order of protection?

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.1 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.2

1 750 ILCS 60/214(a)
2Circuit Court of Cook County website

How much does an order of protection cost? Do I need a lawyer?

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.1

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.

1 750 ILCS 60/202(b)

If you are going to be in court without a lawyer, our Preparing for Court – By Yourself section may be useful to you.

The protections offered in each kind of order

What protections can I get in an emergency order of protection?

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;2 and
  12. give you possession of personal property that you solely or jointly own with the abuser.3

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.2 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.3 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.3

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

What protections can I get in an interim order of protection?

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, decision-making responsibilities (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.1 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.2

1 750 ILCS 60/218(a)
2 750 ILCS 60/218(b)

If 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.1

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.1

1 750 ILCS 60/214(b)(2)(B)

What protections can I get in a plenary order of protection?

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.1 (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.1

A plenary order of protection can give you:

  • physical care and possession of your minor child;2
  • temporary decision-making responsibility (legal custody) of your child (and the judge can determine temporary parenting time for the abuser, if any);3Note: For more information, see Can the abuser be denied parenting time 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.4Note: 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.1

In addition, the judge can also order your wireless phone service provider to do the following within 72 hours:

  • transfer a shared cell phone account (that you share with the abuser) into your name alone, giving you the right to keep your telephone number; and
  • transfer the phone numbers of any minor children in your custody to you.5

Whether a judge orders any or all of the above depends on the facts of your case.

1 750 ILCS 60/214(b)
2 750 ILCS 60/214(b)(5)
3 750 ILCS 60/214(b)(6)
4 750 ILCS 60/214(b)(10)
5 750 ILCS 60/214(b)(18)

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?

Possibly, yes. If the judge believes that you are in immediate danger of further abuse by the abuser1 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.2

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.1

Note: If the judge prohibits the abuser from entering or staying in the residence, this does not affect his/her ownership of the home.3

1 750 ILCS 60/217(a)(3)(ii)
2 750 ILCS 60/217(a)(3)(ii), 750 ILCS 60/214(b)(2)(A)
3 750 ILCS 60/214(b)(2)

What 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.1

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.2

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.2   For more information on this, you may want to consult with a lawyer.  Go to our IL Finding a Lawyer page for more info.

1 750 ILCS 60/214(b)(2)
2 750 ILCS 60/214(b)(10)

Can the abuser be denied parenting time as part of an order of protection?

Yes.  Parenting time 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.1

Also, even if the abuser is granted parenting time, you can refuse to allow him/her to see the minor child if when the abuser arrives for parenting time:

  • 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.1  

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 parenting time order.   Go to our IL Finding a Lawyer page for legal referrals.

1 750 ILCS 60/214(b)(7)

If 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.1

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.1Note: The parents, guardian, or legal custodian of the abuser are responsible for transportation and other costs associated with the transfer or change.1

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.1

1 750 ILCS 60/214(b)(3)(B)

Steps for getting an order of protection

Step 1: Go to circuit court and request a petition.

Go to the circuit court where you live, where the abuser lives, or where the abuse occurred.1  You can find a court near you by going to our IL Courthouse Locations page.  Note: If you are requesting exclusive possession of the home you share, you would generally go to the court in the county where that home is located but there are exceptions that may allow you to file in a neighboring county.2   Go to In which county can I file for an order of protection? for more information.

When in court, find the circuit court clerk and request a petition for an emergency order of protection.  The clerk will give you the forms, and may recommend that you work with a domestic violence legal advocate.

You may also be able to find the forms you need online through our IL Download Court Forms page.

Note: It may also be useful to bring identifying information about the abuser such as a photo (which may be used in serving the order to respondent); addresses of the abuser’s residence and employment; a description and plate number of the abuser’s car; and information about his/her gun ownership.

1 750 ICLS 60/209(a)
2 750 ICLS 60/209(a)(2); 750 ICLS 60/214(b)(2)

Step 2: Fill out the petition.

Carefully fill out the petition.  On the petition, you will be the petitioner and the abuser will be the respondent.  Write about the most recent incident of violence, using descriptive language (words like “slapping,” “hitting,” “grabbing,” “choking,” “threatening,” etc.) that fit your situation.  Include details and dates, if possible.  Be specific.

When giving your address, you can ask that your address be kept confidential.  You may also ask that the school(s) you or your children attend also be kept confidential if that would put you or your children in danger.  If you are staying at a shelter, give their post office box (P.O. box), not a street address.

If you need assistance filling out the forms, you may be able to ask questions to the clerk.  Some courts may have an advocate that can assist you.1  A domestic violence organization may also be able to provide you with help filling out the forms.  See the IL Advocates and Shelters page for the location of an organization near you.

1 750 ILCS 60/205

Step 3: A judge will review your petition.

After you finish filling out your petition, bring it to the court clerk – you may have to sign the petition in front of the clerk to get it notarized. The clerk will forward it to a judge. The judge may wish to ask you questions as s/he reviews your petition. The judge will decide whether or not to issue the emergency order, and will set a date for a full court hearing for the plenary order. You will be given papers that state the time and date of your hearing for a plenary order.

Step 4: Service of process

The abuser must be served with a notice of the hearing date and with any emergency or interim orders that a judge has granted you before s/he may be charged with violating the order. Generally, the sheriff or other law enforcement will serve the summons and order upon the abuser but it is also possible that a “special process server” can be appointed to serve the papers. However, in counties with a population over 3,000,000, a special process server cannot be appointed if the order of protection grants the surrender of a child, the surrender of a firearm or firearm owners identification card, or the exclusive possession of a shared residence.1

There is no charge to have law enforcement serve the abuser.2 The abuser may only be arrested for violating the order after s/he has been given notice that the order exists and is in effect.3

You can ask the court clerk or a domestic violence organization for more information about serving the abuser. Do not try and serve the abuser with the papers yourself.

1 750 ILCS 60/210(c)
2 750 ILCS 60/202(b)
3 720 ILCS 5/12-3.4(2)

You can find more information about service of process in our Preparing for Court – By Yourself section, in the question called What is service of process and how do I accomplish it?

Step 5: The hearing

You must go to the hearing if you want to keep your order of protection. If you do not go to the hearing, your emergency or interim order will be canceled, and you will have to start the process over. If you do not show up at the hearing, it may be harder for you to be granted an order in the future.

If the abuser does not show up for the hearing, the judge may still grant you a plenary order or the judge may order a new hearing date.1

See the At the Hearing section for ways you can show the judge that you were abused. You can learn more about the court system in our Preparing for Court – By Yourself section.

1 750 ILCS 60/210(f)

After the hearing

Can the abuser have a gun?

Once you get a protection order, there may be laws that prohibit the respondent from having a gun in his/her possession.  There are a few places where you can find this information:

  • first, read the questions on this page to see if judges in Illinois have to power to remove guns as part of a temporary or final order;
  • second, go to our State Gun Laws section to read about your state’s specific gun-related laws; and
  • third you can read our Federal Gun Laws section to understand the federal laws that apply to all states.

You can read more about keeping an abuser from accessing guns on the National Domestic Violence and Firearms Resource Center’s website

What should I do when I leave the courthouse?

These are some things you may want to consider after you have been granted an order of protection.  Depending on what you think is safest in your situation, you may do any or all of the following:

  • Review the order before you leave the courthouse. If something is wrong or missing, ask the clerk how to correct the order before you leave.
  • Make several copies of the order of protection as soon as possible.
  • Keep a copy of the order with you at all times.
  • Leave copies of the order at your workplace, at your home, at the children’s school or daycare, in your car, with a sympathetic neighbor, and so on.
  • Give a copy to the security guard or person at the front desk where you live and/or work along with a photo of the abuser.
  • Give a copy of the order to anyone who is named in and protected by the order.
  • You may wish to consider changing your locks (if permitted by law) and your phone number.

You may also wish to make a safety plan. People can do a number of things to increase their safety during violent incidents, when preparing to leave an abusive relationship, and when they are at home, work, and school. Many batterers obey orders of protection, but some do not and it is important to build on the things you have already been doing to keep yourself safe. Click on the following link for suggestions on Safety Tips.

I was not granted an order of protection. What are my options?

If you are not granted an order of protection, there are still some things you can do to try to stay safe.  It might be a good idea to contact one of the domestic violence resource centers in your area to get help, support, and advice on how to stay safe.  They can help you come up with a safety plan and help connect you with the resources you need.  You will find a list of resources on our IL Advocates and Shelters page. You will also find information on safety planning on our Safety Tips page.

You may also be able to reapply for an order of protection if a new incident of domestic violence occurs after you are denied the order.
If you believe the judge made an error of law, you can talk to someone at a domestic violence organization or a lawyer about the possibility of an appeal.  Generally, appeals can be complicated and you will most likely need the help of a lawyer. Go to our Filing Appeals page for general information on appeals.

What can I do if the abuser violates the order?

You can call the police or sheriff, even if you think it is a minor violation. The Illinois Domestic Violence Act requires that police take all reasonable steps to prevent further abuse to you, including possibly arresting the abuser.1 The police need not witness the actual abuse, as long as there is “probable cause” (good reason) to believe that a crime happened.2 Violation of a domestic violence order of protection can be a Class A misdemeanor or, if the abuser has prior convictions for certain other crime(s), it can be a Class 4 felony.3 It is a good idea to write down the name of the responding officer(s) and their badge numbers in case you want to follow up on your case. Make sure a police report is filled out, even if no arrest is made.

When the police arrive, show them a copy of the order of protection. If you don’t have a copy, they can verify its existence by telephone or radio with local law enforcement. Once they verify the order and that it has been served, they may arrest the abuser.4 If the order has not been served, they may serve the abuser, if the abuser is present.

If the police do not arrest the abuser or file a criminal complaint, you may still have the right to file for civil contempt for a violation of the order. It can be a crime and contempt of court if the abuser knowingly violates the order in any way. If the abuser is a minor, the court may hold the parents, guardian, or legal custodian of the minor in civil or criminal contempt for the violation if they directed, encouraged, or assisted the minor in violating the order.5 A judge can punish someone for being in contempt of court. To file for civil contempt, go to the clerk’s office in the courthouse where the order was originally filed, and ask for the necessary forms.

1 750 ILCS 60/304(a)(1)
2 750 ILCS 60/301(a)
3 720 ILCS 5/12-3.4(d)
4 750 ILCS 60/301(b)
5 750 ILCS 60/223(b-2)

How do I change or extend my order of protection?

Changing your order
To try to change (modify) your order, you will have to go back to the court where the order was issued and file a petition to modify the order with the clerk of court.

You can file to modify an emergency, interim, or plenary order of protection.  If the respondent has abused you since the hearing for your order, you can add or change one or more of the terms (protections) in the order.1  However, even without further abuse, you can file to modify the order to add protections in certain circumstances.2  Note: To read about under what circumstances an order can be modified without further abuse, go to our IL Statutes page and read subsection(b) of section 60/224.

Either you or the respondent can also file to modify decision-making responsibilities, parenting time, and/or support payments that were included in the order of protection.3

Extending your order
Any emergency, interim or plenary order may be extended one or more times, as necessary.4  If you want to extend your order of protection, you must apply for an extension (a motion to modify the order) before your original order expires.  In your motion/affidavit, you would state the reason for the requested extension and you will verify that there has been no material (important) change in relevant circumstances since the order was issued.  If the abuser does not contest (fight) your motion for an extension and you are not asking to change the order, the order can be extended based on your motion.4

1 750 ILCS 60/224(a)(1)
2 750 ILCS 60/224(a)(2)
3 750 ILCS 60/224(b)
4 750 ILCS 60/220(e)

What happens if I move? Is my order still effective?

Your order is good throughout Illinois and the United States.  Additionally, the federal law provides what is called “full faith and credit,” which means that once you have a criminal or civil protection order, it follows you wherever you go, including U.S. Territories and tribal lands.1  If you do move within the state, it might be a good idea to call the clerk to change your address but be sure to tell the clerk that you need it to be kept confidential if the abuser does not know where you are living.

You may also want to call the National Center on Protection Orders and Full Faith and Credit (1-800-903-0111 x 2) for information on enforcing your order out of state.

Note: For information on enforcing a military protective order (MPO) off the military installation, or enforcing a civil protection order (CPO) on a military installation, please see our Military Protective Orders page.

1 18 U.S.C. § 2265

Civil No Contact Orders (for Victims of Sexual Assault)

This civil order provides protection from an abuser if you are the victim of sexual assault, even if you do not have a relationship with the abuser.

Basic info and definitions

What is a civil no contact order?

Similar to a domestic violence order of protection, a civil no contact order is a court order that can protect you and your family or household members from an abuser if you are the victim of non-consensual sexual conduct or non-consensual sexual penetration.  Unlike the domestic violence order of protection, you do not need to have a specific relationship with the abuser to get a civil no contact order.1

1 740 ILCS 22/201

What is the legal definition of non-consensual sexual conduct?

Sexual conduct is when someone:

  • intentionally touches or fondles your sex organs, anus, or breast – either directly or through clothing;
  • intentionally forces you to touch or fondle his/her sex organs, anus, or breast – either directly or through clothing;
  • intentionally touches or fondles any part of the body of a child under 13 years of age; or
  • transfers or transmits semen on any part of your clothed or unclothed body, for the purpose of the his/her sexual gratification or arousal or your sexual gratification or arousal.1

Sexual conduct is “non-consensual” when any of the above acts happen without your voluntary consent/agreement.

1 740 ILCS 22/103

What is the legal definition of non-consensual sexual penetration?

Sexual penetration means any contact, however slight, between the sex organ or anus of one person by an object, or by another person’s sex organ, mouth or anus. Sexual penetration also includes any invasion into a person’s sex organ or anus by any part of the body of another person, by any animal or by any object. Sexual penetration includes, but is not limited to, oral sex and anal penetration.1

Sexual penetration is “non-consensual” when it happens without your voluntary consent/agreement.

Note: It is not necessary for there to be evidence of semen in order to prove sexual penetration.1

1 740 ILCS 22/103

What types of civil no contact orders are there? How long do they last?

There are two types of civil no contact orders, which are described below.

Emergency no contact order: An emergency no contact order can be issued if, after reading your petition and possibly questioning you, the judge believes:

  • you are the victim of non-consensual sexual conduct or non-consensual sexual penetration; and
  • there is “good cause” to grant you immediate protection without notifying the abuser beforehand because the abuser would likely harm you if s/he were notified ahead of time that you were going to come to court to ask for a civil no contact order.1

An emergency order can last for between 14 and 21 days.2  Note: If you need an emergency order when the court is closed, you can request an emergency order from any available circuit judge or associate judge.  There is also supposed to be one judge in each county who is available to issue an emergency order by phone or fax at any time when the courts are closed.3

Plenary no contact order: A plenary no contact order can be issued after the abuser receives notice of the case and both you and the abuser have a chance to appear in court and present your witnesses and evidence.  The judge can issue a plenary no contact order if s/he believes:

  • you are the victim of non-consensual sexual conduct or non-consensual sexual penetration;
  • the abuser was properly served with notice of the case; and
  • the abuser has responded or failed to appear.  Note: If the abuser receives notice of the case but does not appear in court (also known as being “in default”), the judge can issue you an order in the abuser’s absence.4

A plenary no contact order can last up to 2 years and can be extended more than once.5  See Can I extend my civil no contact order? for more information.

The judge cannot deny you a civil no contact order based on any of the following:

  • you (the petitioner) are a minor;
  • the abuser (the respondent) is a minor;
  • the fact that you do not have physical injury from the abuse;
  • the abuser had a reason to use force (unless his/her use of force was legally justified);
  • the abuser was voluntarily intoxicated;
  • you acted in self-defense or in the defense of another (as long as your use of force was justified) or you did not act in self-defense or another; or
  • whether or not you left the house to avoid further abuse.6

1 740 ILCS 22/214(a)
2 740 ILCS 22/216(a)
3 740 ILCS 22/214(c)
4 740 ILCS 22/215
5 740 ILCS 22/216(b),(c)
6 740 ILCS 22/213(a),(c)

Where can I file for a civil no contact order?

You can file for a civil no contact order in the circuit court in the county where you live, the county where the abuser lives, or the county where the incident(s) occurred.1

1 740 ILCS 22/207; see 740 ILCS 22/218 and Illinois Civil No Contact Order petition

What protections can I get in a civil no contact order?

In a civil no contact order, the judge can order that the abuser:

  • stay a certain distance away from you, your residence, school, daycare, or another location;
  • stay away from any property or animal you own, have in your possession or lease and order the abuser not to take, encumber (restrict use), conceal, harm or dispose of your property or animal;
  • not have any contact with you directly, indirectly, or through another person (a “third party.”) Note: It does not matter if the other person (the third party) who contacts you knows about the order or not; and
  • not do any other actions that the judge believes would help protect you.1

If you and the abuser attend the same public or private elementary, middle, or high school, the judge must consider the following additional factors:

  • how serious the abuser’s behavior is;
  • any continuing physical danger or emotional distress to you;
  • your and the abuser’s educational rights under federal and state law; and
  • the expense, difficulty and educational disruption that would be caused by transferring the abuser to another school (since the judge can order that the abuser not attend your school.) The abuser will have an opportunity to try to prove that transferring or changing schools or programs is not an available option for him/her. If the abuser is ordered to change schools or transfer programs, the abuser’s parent(s), guardian(s), or legal custodian(s) are responsible for his/her transportation and other costs of changing schools.2

Note: The judge can also order that the parent(s), guardian(s), or legal custodian(s) of a minor who has a civil no contact order issued against him/her take certain actions or not engage in certain actions to make sure that the abuser obeys the order.3

1 740 ILCS 22/213(b-5)
2 740 ILCS 22/213(b-6)
3 740 ILCS 22/213(b-7)

If the abuser lives in a different state, can I still get an order against him/her?

When you and the abuser live in different states, the judge may not have “personal jurisdiction” (power) over an out-of-state abuser. This means that the court may not be able to grant an order against him/her.

There are a few ways that a court can have personal jurisdiction over an out-of-state abuser:

  1. The abuser has a substantial connection to your state. Perhaps the abuser regularly travels to your state to visit you, for business, to see extended family, or the abuser lived in your state and recently fled.
  2. One of the acts of abuse “happened” in your state. Perhaps the abuser sends you threatening texts or harassing phone calls from another state but you read the messages or answer the calls while you are in your state. The judge could decide that the abuse “happened” to you while you were in your state. It may also be possible that the abuser was in your state when s/he abused you s/he but has since left the state.
  3. If you file your petition and the abuser gets served with the court petition while s/he is in your state, this is another way for the court to get jurisdiction.

However, even if none of the above apply to your situation, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you can’t get an order. If you file, you may be granted an order on consent or the judge may find other circumstances that allow the order to be granted.

You can read more about personal jurisdiction in our Court System Basics - Personal Jurisdiction section.

Note: If the judge in your state refuses to issue an order, you can file for an order in the courthouse in the state where the abuser lives. However, remember that you will likely need to file the petition in person and attend various court dates, which could be difficult if the abuser’s state is far away.

Who is eligible for a civil no contact order

Who can get a civil no contact order?

Under Illinois law, you may be eligible for a civil no contact order if you are the victim of one or more incidents of non-consensual sexual conduct or non-consensual sexual penetration. A no contact order can also be filed on behalf of a minor child or on behalf of an adult who is a victim of non-consensual sexual conduct or penetration but cannot file on his/her own because of age, disability, health, or inaccessibility.1

Your civil no contact order can also protect your family or household members and any rape crisis center advocate who is assisting you.2

1 740 ILCS 22/201(b)
2 740 ILCS 22/201(a)

Can a minor file for a civil no contact order? And can I get an order against a minor?

Yes. You can file for a civil no contact order if you are a minor or a parent/guardian can file on behalf of a minor. Also, if the person who abused you is a minor, you can file for an order against a minor.1

1 740 ILCS 22/213(a)

Getting the order

What are the steps involved with getting a civil no contact order?

Will the abuser be notified when I file for an order?

Yes. Typically, the abuser would not be notified before you get an emergency order, but the abuser must be served with your petition and the order before your hearing for the plenary no contact order. If you get an emergency order, the clerk will immediately (or by the following business day) enter the order on the record and file it according to court procedures. The clerk will also provide a stamped copy of the order to you and to the abuser (if the abuser was present at the emergency hearing).1

You or the clerk may also file the order with law enforcement so that an officer can serve the abuser with a copy of the order. If you are unsure whether you should bring the order to law enforcement or whether the clerk will, you can ask the clerk. A law enforcement officer or process server will attempt to serve the order and file proof of service (unless the respondent was present at the hearing for the emergency order and was served with a copy there).2 At your request, the clerk can also send written notice of the order and a copy of the order to your school.3

1 740 ILCS 22/218(a)
2 740 ILCS 22/218(b),(c)
3 740 ILCS 22/218(f)

Do I have to provide my address to file for an order?

If providing your address would put you or your family members at risk of further abuse, you do not have to reveal your address in your petition. However, you must provide an address where you can receive mail so that you can be served with any court paperwork.1

1 740 ILCS 22/203(b)

Do I need a lawyer to help me?

You do not need a lawyer to file for a civil no contact order however it is often best to have a lawyer represent you who is knowledgeable about sexual assault to make sure that your rights are protected. If you cannot find a lawyer, the judge may appoint a lawyer to represent you if the abuser is represented by a lawyer.1 To find a legal services organization near you, go to our IL Finding a Lawyer page.

If you are going to be in court without a lawyer, our Preparing for Court – By Yourself section may be useful to you.

1 740 ILCS 22/204.3

Will I have to face the abuser in court?

Possibly. The abuser must have the opportunity to appear in court and present his/her evidence and testimony before you can receive a plenary order (but if the abuser decides not to show up, you can still get a plenary order). However, if the judge believes that testifying in the courtroom (in front of the abuser and others) may cause you serious emotional distress, the judge can question you in the judge’s chambers (office). Your lawyer and the abuser’s lawyer will be present for the judge’s questioning unless all parties agree that the lawyers do not need to be present.1

1 740 ILCS 22/215.5

After the hearing

Can a civil no contact order be changed (modified)?

You can file a motion to request that the judge modify (change) an emergency or plenary civil no contact order.1 However, once 30 days have passed since the judge issued you a plenary no contact order, the judge can only change the order if there has been a change in the law or the facts of your case, which causes the judge to believe that there should be a change of the terms of your order.2

The only time that the abuser can file to change an order is once the abuser is served with your emergency ex parte no contact order. The abuser can file a petition to request that the judge reopen the case and reconsider the petition based on the facts that:

  • the abuser did not receive prior notice of the initial hearing where the emergency ex parte order was entered; and
  • the abuser had a valid defense that would have prevented the judge from issuing the order or any of the relief issued in the order.3

If the abuser files this type of request, s/he only has to provide you with two days’ notice of the court hearing where the request will be decided by the judge.3

1 740 ILCS 22/218.5(a)
2 740 ILCS 22/218.5(b)
3 740 ILCS 22/218.5(c)

Can I extend my civil no contact order?

Yes. An emergency or plenary civil no contact order can be extended one or more times if there is “good cause” to do so. However, if you are not asking the judge to make any changes to the extended order, and the abuser doesn’t oppose your request for an extension, the judge can extend the order just based on your statement that there has been no change in circumstances since entry of the order and based on whatever reason you give for requesting the extension.1

1 740 ILCS 22/216(c),(d-5)

What can I do if the abuser violates the order?

Violating a civil no contact order can be against the law. There are two ways to get help if the abuser violates the order.

Through the Civil Court System (Civil)
You may file for civil contempt for a violation of the order. The abuser may be violating a civil no contact order if:

  • s/he does anything that your civil no contact order prohibits him/her from doing or if s/he does not do something that is required in the order; and
  • s/he did that action or failed to do that action after being served with the no contact order (or having some other way of having knowledge of what the order says).1

If the abuser tells someone else (a third party) to violate the order, the abuser may be guilty of violating the order.2

If the abuser did not have notice of the of the case and an opportunity to appear in court for the hearing, then s/he may be able to use that in court as an excuse (defense) for why s/he violated the order.3

To file for civil contempt, go to the clerk’s office and ask for the forms to file for civil contempt.

Through the Police or Sheriff (Criminal)
If the abuser violates the civil no contact order, you can call 911 immediately, and the respondent can be arrested.4 However, the respondent must have received notice of the existing order by any of the following methods:

  • service of process;
  • appearance in court; or
  • another method that shows s/he had knowledge of the order.5

The penalties for violating a civil no contact order can include incarceration, payment of restitution, a fine, payment of attorneys’ fees and costs, or community service.6 The first violation of a civil no contact order can be a Class A misdemeanor. A second or subsequent violation can be a Class 4 felony.7 The penalty for a Class A misdemeanor is jail time for up to one year and a fine of up to $2,500.8 The penalty for a Class 4 felony is jail time for between one and three years and a fine to be decided by the judge.9

1 720 ILCS 5/12-3.8(a)
2 720 ILCS 5/12-3.8(d)
3 720 ILCS 5/12-3.8(a-5)
4 740 ILCS 22/220(c)
5 740 ILCS 22/220(e)
6 740 ILCS 22/220(h)(1)
7 720 ILCS 5/12-3.8(e)
8 730 ILCS 5/5-4.5-55
9 730 ILCS 5/5-4.5-45

You can find more information about service of process in our Preparing for Court – By Yourself section, in the question called What is service of process and how do I accomplish it?

Stalking No Contact Orders

A stalking no contact order provides protection if you are a victim of stalking and do not qualify for a domestic violence order of protection. If you would qualify for a domestic violence order of protection, that is the petition that you would file instead. An authorized agent of a school, workplace, or place of employment affected by the stalking can also file for a stalking no contact order.

Basic info

What is the legal definition of stalking in Illinois?

Stalking is a “course of conduct” (two or more acts) directed at a person, workplace, school, or place of worship, and the abuser knows (or should know) that these actions would cause a reasonable person to:

  • fear for his/her safety;
  • fear for the safety of another person;
  • fear for the safety of a workplace, school, or place of worship; or
  • suffer emotional distress.1

The “course of conduct” could include, but is not limited to, behavior where the abuser directly, indirectly, or through third parties, does any of the following:

  • follows, monitors, observes, keeps watch over, or threatens you (or a workplace, school, or place of worship);
  • engages in other “contact” with you that is started or continued without your consent, or s/he ignores a request that you make for the contact to stop; or
  • interferes with or damages your property or pet.1

Examples of “contact” include, but are not limited to: being in your physical presence; appearing within your sight; coming towards you or contacting you in a public place or on private property; appearing at your workplace or home; entering onto or remaining on property that you own or lease or are currently in; placing an object on or delivering an object to property owned, leased, or occupied by you; and appearing at the prohibited workplace, school, or place of worship.1

1 740 ILCS 21/10

What types of stalking no contact orders are there? How long do they last?

There are two types of stalking no contact orders: emergency orders and plenary orders.

Emergency stalking no contact orders: An emergency stalking no contact order can be issued if, after reading your petition and possibly questioning you, the judge believes:

  • you are the victim of stalking; and
  • there is “good cause” to grant you immediate protection without notifying the abuser before the hearing (also known as an ex parte hearing) because the abuser would likely harm you if s/he were notified ahead of time.1

An emergency order will generally last for between 14 and 21 days.2

Note: If you need an emergency order when the court is closed, you can request an emergency order from any available circuit judge or associate judge. There may be one judge in each county who is available to issue an emergency order by phone or fax at any time when the courts are closed.3

Plenary stalking no contact orders: A plenary stalking no contact order can be issued after the abuser receives notice of the court case and both you and the abuser have a chance to appear in court.4 A plenary stalking no contact order can last for two years (or any fixed period of time up to two years).5

1 740 ILCS 21/95(a)
2 740 ILCS 21/105(a)
3 740 ILCS 21/95(c)
4 740 ILCS 21/100
5 740 ILCS 21/105(b)

What protections can I get in a stalking no contact order?

In a stalking no contact order, the judge can order that the abuser not:

  • stalk (or threaten to stalk) you;
  • contact you or a protected third party named in your order;
  • come within a specified distance of you, your home, school, daycare, work, or another place to which you often go;
  • come within a certain distance of the abuser’s own residence, school, or work; however, a judge can only keep the abuser away from these places if the abuser has “actual notice” of the court case and is given the chance to appear in court; and
  • buy or possess firearms or a Firearm Owners Identification Card.1

The judge can also order any other provision that the judge believes would help protect you or another protected party.1

If you and the abuser attend the same public or private elementary, middle, or high school, the judge can order the abuser to not attend that school and that s/he accept a change of placement or program as determined by the school administration. Another option is that the judge can allow the abuser to continue to attend the same school but can place restrictions on the abuser’s movements within the school. When deciding whether or not to do either of these options, the judge must consider the following additional factors:

  • how serious the abuser’s behavior is;
  • any continuing physical danger or emotional distress to you;
  • your and the abuser’s educational rights under federal and state law;
  • the availability of a transfer of the abuser to another school; and
  • the expense, difficulty and educational disruption that would be caused by transferring the abuser to another school – evidence of this would be presented by the abuser.2

Note: The abuser will have an opportunity to try to prove that transferring or changing schools or programs is not an available option for him/her. If the abuser is ordered to change schools or transfer programs, the abuser’s parent(s), guardian(s), or legal custodian(s) are responsible for his/her transportation and other costs of changing schools.2

1 740 ILCS 21/80(b)
2 740 ILCS 21/80(b-5)

If the abuser lives in a different state, can I still get an order against him/her?

When you and the abuser live in different states, the judge may not have “personal jurisdiction” (power) over an out-of-state abuser. This means that the court may not be able to grant an order against him/her.

There are a few ways that a court can have personal jurisdiction over an out-of-state abuser:

  1. The abuser has a substantial connection to your state. Perhaps the abuser regularly travels to your state to visit you, for business, to see extended family, or the abuser lived in your state and recently fled.
  2. One of the acts of abuse “happened” in your state. Perhaps the abuser sends you threatening texts or harassing phone calls from another state but you read the messages or answer the calls while you are in your state. The judge could decide that the abuse “happened” to you while you were in your state. It may also be possible that the abuser was in your state when s/he abused you s/he but has since left the state.
  3. If you file your petition and the abuser gets served with the court petition while s/he is in your state, this is another way for the court to get jurisdiction.

However, even if none of the above apply to your situation, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you can’t get an order. If you file, you may be granted an order on consent or the judge may find other circumstances that allow the order to be granted.

You can read more about personal jurisdiction in our Court System Basics - Personal Jurisdiction section.

Note: If the judge in your state refuses to issue an order, you can file for an order in the courthouse in the state where the abuser lives. However, remember that you will likely need to file the petition in person and attend various court dates, which could be difficult if the abuser’s state is far away.

Getting the order

Who is eligible for a stalking no contact order?

You can file a stalking no contact order if you are:

  • a victim of stalking;
  • filing on behalf of a child under 18 years old;
  • filing on behalf of an adult victim of stalking who cannot file on his/her own due to age, disability, health, or inaccessibility; or
  • an authorized agent of a place of employment, place of worship, or school.1

Note: Stalking no contact orders are only available for people who do not qualify for a domestic violence order of protection. If you would qualify for a domestic violence order of protection, that is the petition that you would file instead.

1 740 ILCS 21/15; 21/10

Where can I file for a stalking no contact order?

You can file for a stalking no contact order in the circuit court in the county where you live, the county where the abuser lives, or the county where any of the acts of stalking occurred.1

1 740 ILCS 21/55

What are the steps for getting a stalking no contact order?

Can a stalking no contact order be extended?

The judge can extend your emergency or plenary stalking no contact order one or more times if you file a motion requesting the extension. The abuser would be served with a copy of your motion and have the chance to object at a hearing. However, if the abuser does not object, and you are asking the judge for an extension of the order (but you are not asking the judge to change any terms of the order), the judge can extend the order based on the reasons that you state in your motion without the need for you to testify at a hearing.1

1 740 ILCS 21/105(c)

What can I do if the abuser violates the order?

Violating a stalking no contact order can be against the law. The abuser may be violating a stalking no contact order if:

  • s/he does anything that your civil no contact order prohibits him/her from doing or if s/he does not do something that is required in the order; and
  • s/he did that action or failed to do that action after being served with the no contact order (or having some other way of having knowledge of what the order says).1

If the abuser tells someone else (a third party) to violate the order, the abuser may be guilty of violating the order.2

If the abuser violates the stalking no contact order, you can call 911 immediately. The abuser could be arrested and prosecuted for violating a stalking no contact order. If the abuser did not have notice of the of the case and an opportunity to appear in court for the hearing, then s/he may be able to use that in court as an excuse (defense) for why s/he violated the order.3

The first violation of a stalking no contact order can be a Class A misdemeanor. A second or subsequent violation can be a Class 4 felony.4 The penalty for a Class A misdemeanor is jail time of up to a year and a fine of up to $2,500.5 The penalty for a Class 4 felony is jail time for between one and three years and a fine to be decided by the judge.6

1 720 ILCS 5/12-3.9(a)
2 720 ILCS 5/12-3.9(d)
3 720 ILCS 5/12-3.9(a-5)
4 720 ILCS 5/12-3.9(e)
5 730 ILCS 5/5-4.5-55
6 730 ILCS 5/5-4.5-45

Orders of Protection for Adults with Disabilities

Although Illinois does not have a separate elder or dependent adult protection order like some states do, you can apply for an order of protection if you are an adult with disabilities who is being abused by a caregiver.

An adult with disabilities is defined as:

  • an “elder adult with disabilities,” which means an adult who cannot act to protect himself/herself from abuse by a family or household member because of “advanced age;” or
  • a “high-risk adult with disabilities,” which means a person 18 or over who has a physical or mental disability that makes it difficult for him/her to protect himself/herself from abuse, neglect, or exploitation.1

A “caregiver” means a person who has a duty to provide for your health and personal care where you live, and includes people who are taking care of you because of a family relationship, by their own choice, through a contract, or by court order. A caregiver may be someone who has taken responsibility for some or all of your care, and may be responsible for your food, shelter, hygiene, medications, medical care, or more.2

For the purpose of qualifying for an order of protection, a “caregiver” includes:

  • a family member who lives with you or regularly visits, and who knows or should know that you aren’t able to care for yourself;
  • a person who is employed to live with you or regularly visit you and take care of your health and personal care;
  • a person who is being paid back in some way, whether by money or other means, to live with you or regularly visit you and take care of your health and personal care; or
  • a person who has been appointed by a private or public agency or by a court to take care of your health or personal care.3

The legal definition of “caregiver” does not include:

  • a person who works at a licensed or certified nursing home or rehabilitation facility; or
  • a healthcare provider who is giving regular medical care to an adult with disabilities.3

Someone can also apply for an order of protection on your behalf if you are an adult with disabilities, but only if you or your legal guardian want an order of protection on your behalf.4

The legal definition of abuse for the purposes of getting an order of protection for adults with disabilities includes:

  • physical force or assault;
  • sexual abuse;
  • emotional abuse
  • confining or restraining you;
  • threats of physical force;
  • reckless conduct that creates an immediate risk of physical harm;
  • keeping you from your basic needs like medicine or food;
  • exposing you to a risk of harm;
  • financial exploitation;
  • harassment;
  • making you witness or participate in any physical force against or confinement of another person; or
  • any other kind of abuse included in the legal definition of domestic violence in Illinois.5

1 750 ILCS 60/103(8), (4)
2 750 ILCS 60/103(6)
3 750 ILCS 60/103(6); 720 ILCS 5/12-4.4a
4 750 ILCS 60/201(b)(ii);103(2)
5 750 ILCS 60/103(3); “Protection from Abuse or Neglect for Senior Citizens,” Illinois Legal Aid Online

Firearms Restraining Orders

A firearms restraining order temporarily restricts a respondent’s access to firearms in certain situations to protect him/her and others.

Basic info

What is a firearms restraining order?

A firearms restraining order is a civil court order that prohibits an individual (called the respondent) from having firearms in his/her custody or control or from purchasing or receiving a firearm.1

1 430 ILCS 67/5

Who can file for a firearms restraining order?

You can file for a firearms restraining order if the respondent poses a significant danger of causing personal injury to himself, herself, or another in the near future by having a firearm in his/her custody or control, or by purchasing, possessing, or receiving a firearm. Additionally, to file for a firearms restraining order, you must be:

  • the respondent’s family member; or
  • a law enforcement officer.1

“Family members” include:

1. the respondent’s

  • spouse;
  • parent;
  • child;
  • step-child;
  • relative by blood or marriage; and

2. a person who shares a home with the respondent.2

1 430 ILCS 67/5
2 430 ILCS 67/5

What types of orders are there? How long do they last?

There are two types of firearms restraining orders: emergency firearms restraining orders and six-month firearms restraining orders.

Emergency Firearms Restraining Order – A judge can issue an emergency order on the same day that the petition is filed or the next day that the court is open.1 An emergency order can be issued ex parte, which means that the respondent does not need to be in the courtroom or have prior notice of the case for the judge to issue the order.2 If the judge believes that the respondent poses an immediate and present danger of causing personal injury to himself/herself or others by having a firearm, the judge can issue the emergency order.3 The judge should schedule a hearing for the six-month order as soon as possible. An emergency order can stay in effect for up to 14 days.4

Six-month Firearms Restraining Order – The judge will hold a hearing for a six-month firearms restraining order after the petitioner receives an emergency restraining order. A petitioner can also request that the judge issue a six-month firearms restraining order without first filing for an emergency order. If the petitioner does this, the judge must hold a hearing within 30 days of the petition for a six-month order being filed.5 If the judge issues a firearms restraining order after the respondent has notice and the opportunity to appear, the judge can issue the order for six months.6

1 430 ILCS 67/35(e)
2 430 ILCS 67/35(d)
3 430 ILCS 67/35(f)
4 430 ILCS 67/35(i)
5 430 ILCS 67/40(d)
6 430 ILCS 67/40(g)

What protections can I get in a firearms restraining order?

In both an emergency firearms restraining order and a six-month firearms restraining order, the judge can order the respondent to:

  • not have firearms in his/her custody or control and not purchase, possess, or receive firearms while the order is in place; and
  • turn in any Firearm Owner’s Identification Card and concealed carry license in his/her possession to law enforcement.1

If the judge orders either a six-month order or an emergency order, s/he will also issue a search warrant for the local police to find and take the respondent’s firearms. To order this warrant, the judge must find probable cause to believe that the respondent has firearms.2

1 430 ILCS 67/35(g); 67/40(h)
2 430 ILCS 67/35(f-5); 67/40(g-5)

Getting the order

How do I get a firearms restraining order?

The steps to get a firearms restraining order are similar to the steps to get a domestic violence restraining order, but you will fill out different forms, like these from Lake County.

To request an emergency order or a six-month order, you must file an affidavit or verified pleading that:

  • claims that the respondent poses a significant danger of causing personal injury to himself/herself or another in the near future by having firearms in his/her custody or by purchasing, possessing, or receiving a firearm; and
  • describes the number, types, and locations of any firearms you believe the respondent has or controls.1

If the respondent poses a threat to an “intimate partner,” you must first try to give notice to the intimate partner regarding the fact that you plan on filing a petition for a firearms restraining order.2 An intimate partner is:

  • the respondent’s spouse or former spouse;
  • a person with whom the respondent has a child; or
  • a person to whom the respondent is or was dating or engaged.3

If you are unable to provide the respondent’s intimate partner with notice, you should include information about what efforts you made to provide him/her with notice in your affidavit or verified pleading.4

1 430 ILCS 67/35(a); 67/40(a)
2 430 ILCS 67/35(b); 67/40(b)
3 430 ILCS 67/5
4 430 ILCS 67/35(b); 67/40(b)

How will a judge make a decision about whether to grant the order?

The judge must decide if the respondent poses a significant danger of causing personal injury to himself, herself, or another in the near future by having a firearm in his/her custody or control, or by purchasing, possessing, or receiving a firearm.1 To make this decision, the judge will consider evidence such as the respondent’s:

  • illegal and reckless use, display, or waving of a firearm;
  • history of use of physical force including any attempted or threatened use of force;
  • previous felony arrests;
  • abuse of drugs (controlled substances) or alcohol;
  • recent threat or act of violence directed toward himself/herself or another;
  • violation of a temporary or final protection order; and
  • pattern of violent acts or threats directed toward himself/herself or another.2

1 430 ILCS 67/40(a)
2 430 ILCS 67/40(e)

Can a firearms restraining order be renewed?

The petitioner can ask the judge to renew a six-month firearms restraining order any time within the three months before the expiration of the order. When deciding whether to renew the order, the judge will consider the same evidence s/he considered when issuing the original order.1

1 430 ILCS 67/45(b)

What happens if the respondent violates the order?

If the respondent violates a firearms restraining order, s/he can be convicted of a Class A misdemeanor.1 If the respondent is convicted, the judge could order the respondent to pay a fine of $2,500, go to jail for up to one year, or both.2

1 430 ILCS 67/65
2 730 ILCS 5/5‑4.5‑55

Moving to Another State with an Order of Protection

If you are moving out of state or are going to be out of the state for any reason, your protection order can still be enforceable.

General rules

Can I get my Order of Protection from Illinois enforced in another state?

Yes. If you have a valid Illinois order of protection that meets federal standards, it can be enforced in another state. The Violence Against Women Act, which is a federal law, states that all valid orders of protection granted in the United States receive “full faith and credit” in all state and tribal courts within the US, including US territories. See How do I know if my order of protection is good under federal law? to find out if your order of protection qualifies.

Each state must enforce out-of-state orders of protection in the same way it enforces its own orders. Meaning, if your abuser violates your out-of-state order of protection, s/he will be punished according to the laws of whatever state you are in when the order is violated. This is what is meant by “full faith and credit.”

To make it even clearer that your order is good anywhere in the U.S., Illinois also includes a statement on all emergency, interim, and plenary orders of protection that says that the order can be enforced in any other state whether or not it has been registered in that state.1

1 750 ILCS 60/221(d),(e)

How do I know if my order of protection is good under federal law?

An order of protection is good anywhere in the United States as long as:

  • It was issued to prevent violent or threatening acts, harassing behavior, sexual violence, or it was issued to prevent another person from coming near you or contacting you.1
  • The court that issued the order had jurisdiction over the people and case. (In other words, the court had the authority to hear the case.)
  • The abuser received notice of the order and had an opportunity to go to court to tell his/her side of the story. It doesn’t matter if he actually showed up in court; just that he had the opportunity to do so.
    • In the case of ex parte temporary and emergency orders, the abuser must receive notice and have an opportunity to go to court to tell his/her side of the story at a hearing that is scheduled within a “reasonable time” after the order is issued.2

Note: For information on enforcing a military protective order (MPO) off the military installation, or enforcing a civil protection order (CPO) on a military installation, please see our Military Protective Orders page.

1 18 U.S.C. § 2266(5)(A)
2 18 U.S.C. § 2265(a) & (b)

I have an emergency (ex-parte) order. Can it be enforced in another state?

Yes. An ex parte temporary order can be enforced in other states as long as it meets the requirements listed in How do I know if my order of protection is good under federal law?1

Note: The state where you are going generally cannot extend your ex parte temporary order or issue you a permanent order when the temporary one expires. If you need to extend your temporary order, you will have to contact the state that issued the order and arrange to be at the hearing in person or by telephone (if that is an option offered by the court). However, you may be able to reapply for one in the new state that you are moving to if you meet the requirements for getting a protective order in that state – but, if you apply for one in a new state, the abuser would know what state you are living in, which may put you in danger.

1 18 U.S.C. § 2265(b)(2)

Getting your Illinois order of protection enforced in another state

How do I get my order of protection enforced in another state?

Federal law does not require you to take any special steps to get your order of protection enforced in another state.

Many states do have laws or regulations (rules) about registering or filing of out-of-state orders, which can make enforcement easier, but a valid order of protection is enforceable regardless of whether it has been registered or filed in the new state.1 Rules differ from state to state, so it may be helpful to find out what the rules are in your new state. You can contact a local domestic violence organization for more information by visiting our Advocates and Shelters page and entering your new state in the drop-down menu.

1 18 U.S.C. § 2265(d)(2)

 

Do I need anything special to get my order of protection enforced in another state?

In some states, you will need a certified copy of your order of protection. A certified copy says that it is a “true and correct” copy; it is signed and initialed by the clerk of court that gave you the order, and usually has some kind of court stamp on it. In Illinois, a certified copy will either have a stamp or a seal on it depending on which office gives you the copy.

The copy that you originally received from court should have been a certified copy.1 However, if your copy is not a certified copy, you can go to the court that gave you the order and ask the clerk’s office for a certified copy. There is no fee for a certified copy of an Illinois order of protection.2

Note: It is usually a good idea to keep a copy of the order with you at all times. You may also want to leave copies of the order at your workplace, at your home, at your children’s school or daycare, in your car, with a sympathetic neighbor, and so on. You can give a copy to the security guard or person at the front desk where you live and/or work along with a photo of the abuser. You may also want to give a copy of the order to anyone who is named in and protected by the order.

1 750 ILCS 60/222(a)
2 750 ILCS 60/202(b)

Can I get someone to help me? Do I need a lawyer?

You do not need a lawyer to get your Order of Protection enforced in another state.

However, you may want to get help from a local domestic violence advocate or attorney in the state that you move to. A domestic violence advocate can let you know what the advantages and disadvantages are for registering your Order of Protection, and help you through the process if you decide to do so.

To find a domestic violence advocate or an attorney in the state you are moving to, select your state from the Places that Help tab on the top of the screen and then click Finding a Lawyer.

 

Do I need to tell the Court in Illinois if I move?

You are not required to tell the court in Illinois if you move unless you have a case pending in an Illinois court. However, it might be a good idea to give the court a current address so that you can be notified of any actions that are taken regarding your Order of Protection.

Also, if you are participating in the Illinois address confidentiality program, you need to tell the Attorney General about any change of address at least 7 days before your address changes. If you do not tell the Attorney General about your change of address, your program certification will be cancelled.1

1 750 ILCS 61/20(b)

Enforcing custody provisions in another state

I was granted temporary custody with my Order of Protection. Can I take my kids out of the state?

Maybe. It will depend on the exact wording of the custody provision in your Order of Protection. You may have to first seek the permission of the court before leaving. If your abuser was granted visitation rights with your children, then you may have to have the order changed, or show the court that there is a fair and realistic alternative to the current visitation schedule.

If you are unsure about whether or not you can take your kids out of the state, it is important to talk to a domestic violence advocate or lawyer who understands domestic violence and custody laws, and can help you make the safest decision for you and your children. You can find contact information for local domestic violence organizations and legal assistance in the IL area on our IL Places that Help page.

 

I was granted temporary custody with my Order of Protection. Will another state enforce this custody order?

Yes. Custody, visitation, and child support provisions that are included in a Order of Protection can be enforced across state lines. Law enforcement and courts in another state are required by federal law to enforce these provisions.1

1 18 USC 2266

Enforcing Your Out-Of-State Order in Illinois

If you are planning to move to Illinois or are going to be in Illinois for any reason, your protection or restraining order can be enforced.

General rules for out-of-state orders in Illinois

Can I get my protection order enforced in Illinois? What are the requirements?

Yes. Your protection order can be enforced in Illinois as long as:

  • It was issued to prevent violent or threatening acts, harassing behavior, sexual violence, or it was issued to prevent another person from coming near you or contacting you.1
  • The court that issued the order had jurisdiction over the people and case. (In other words, the court had the authority to hear the case.)
  • The abuser received notice of the order and had an opportunity to go to court to tell his/her side of the story. It doesn’t matter if he actually showed up in court; just that he had the opportunity to do so.
    • In the case of ex parte temporary and emergency orders, the abuser must receive notice and have an opportunity to go to court to tell his/her side of the story at a hearing that is scheduled within a “reasonable time” after the order is issued.2

Note: For information on enforcing a military protective order (MPO) off the military installation, or enforcing a civil protection order (CPO) on a military installation, please see our Military Protective Orders page.

1 18 U.S.C. § 2266(5)(A)
2 18 U.S.C. § 2265(a) & (b); 750 ILCS 60/223(d)

Can I have my out-of-state protection order changed, extended, or canceled in Illinois?

Only the state that issued your protection order can change, extend, or cancel the order. You cannot have this done by a court in Illinois.

To have your order changed, extended, or canceled, you will have to file a motion or petition in the court where the order was issued. You may be able to request that you attend the court hearing by telephone rather than in person, so that you do not need to return to the state where the abuser is living. To find out more information about how to modify a restraining order, see the Restraining Orders page in the state from which you moved.

If your order does expire while you are living in Illinois, you may be able to get a new one issued in Illinois but this may be difficult to do if no new incidents of abuse have occurred in Illinois. To find out more information on how to get a protective order in Illinois, visit our Illinois Steps for getting an order of protection.

I was granted temporary custody with my out-of-state protection order. Will I still have temporary custody of my children in IL?

Yes. As long as the child custody provision complies with certain federal laws,1 Illinois can enforce a temporary custody order that is a part of a protection order.

To have someone read over your order and tell you if it meets these standards, contact a lawyer in your area. To find a lawyer in your area click here IL Finding a Lawyer.

1 The federal laws are the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction Act (UCCJA) or the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA), and the Parental Kidnapping Prevention Act of 1980.

 

Registering your out-of-state order in Illinois

If I don’t have a hard copy of my out-of-state order, how can law enforcement enforce it?

To enforce an out-of-state order, law enforcement typically may rely on the National Crime Information Center Protection Order File (NCIC-POF). The NCIC-POF is a nationwide, electronic database that contains information about orders of protection that were issued in each state and territory in the U.S. The Protection Order File (POF) contains court orders that are issued to prevent acts of domestic violence, or to prevent someone from stalking, intimidating, or harassing another person. It contains orders issued by both civil and criminal state courts. The types of protection orders issued and the information contained in them vary from state to state.1

There is no way for the general public to access the NCIC-POF. That means you cannot confirm a protection order is in the registry or add a protection order to the registry without the help of a government agency that has access to it.

Typically, the state police or criminal justice agency in the state has the responsibility of reporting protection orders to NCIC. However, in some cases, the courts have taken on that role and they manage the protection order reporting process.2 NCIC–POF is used by law enforcement agencies when they need to verify and enforce an out-of-state protection order. It is managed by the FBI and state law enforcement officials.

However, not all states routinely enter protection orders into the NCIC. Instead, some states may enter the orders only in their own state protection order registry, which would not be accessible to law enforcement in other states. According to a 2016 report by the National Center for State Courts, more than 700,000 protection orders that were registered in state protection order databases were not registered in the federal NCIC Protection Order File.2 This means that if a law enforcement officer is trying to enforce a protection order from another state that is missing from the NCIC, the victim would likely need to show the officer a hard copy of the order to get it immediately enforced. If you no longer have a copy of your original order, you may want to contact the court that issued the order to ask them how you can get another copy sent to you.

1 National Center for Protection Orders and Full Faith & Credit
2 See State Progress in Record Reporting for Firearm-Related Background Checks: Protection Order Submissions, prepared by the National Center for State Courts, April 2016

How do I register my protection order in Illinois?

To register your protection order in Illinois, you need to take a certified copy of the order to the court clerk at the Family Law Court where you live.1 The clerk will then file your order with the local law enforcement agency that is in charge of the Department of State Police records, and it will be entered into the Law Enforcement Automated Data System within 24 hours of registration.2

If you need help registering your protection order, you can contact a local domestic violence organization in Illinois for assistance. You can find contact information for organizations in your area here on our IL Advocates and Shelters page.

1 750 ILCS 60/222.5(a)
2 750 ILCS 60/222.5(b)(2); 750 ILCS 60/302(a); 725 ILCS 5/112A-28(a)

Do I have to register my protection order in Illinois in order to get it enforced?

Illinois state law gives full protection to an out-of-state protection order as long as you can show the officer a copy of the order and can truthfully tell the officer that you believe the order is still in effect. It does not have to be entered into the state or federal registry in order to be enforced by an Illinois police officer, but the officer does need to believe that it is a valid (real) order.1

1 750 ILCS 60/222.5(c); 735 ILCS 5/12-652(c); 750 ILCS 60/301(b)

Will the abuser be notified if I register my protection order?

Under the federal Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), which applies to all U.S. states and territories, the court is not permitted to notify the abuser when a protective order has been registered or filed in a new state unless you specifically request that the abuser be notified.1  However, you may wish to confirm that the clerk is aware of this law before registering the order if your address is confidential.

However, remember that there may be a possibility that the abuser could somehow find out what state you have moved to.  It is important to continue to safety plan, even if you are no longer in the state where the abuser is living.  We have some safety planning tips to get you started on our Staying Safe page.  You can also contact a local domestic violence organization to get help in developing a personalized safety plan. You will find contact information for organizations in your area on our IL Advocates and Shelters page.

1 18 USC § 2265(d)

What if I don't register my protection order? Will it be more difficult to have it enforced?

No, it should not be more difficult to have your order enforced if you do not register it.  IL requires law enforcement officials to enforce an out-of-state protection order even if it has not been registered in IL as long as you can show the officer a copy of the order.1   A certified copy of a protection order is automatically assumed to be valid, so you might want to keep a certified copy of your order with you.2

If you are unsure about whether registering your order is the right decision for you, you may want to contact a local domestic violence organization in your area. An advocate there can help you decide what the safest plan of action is for you in Illinois. To see a list of local domestic violence organizations in IL, go to our IL Advocates and Shelters page.

1 750 ILCS 60/301(b)
2 720 ILCS 5/12-30

Does it cost anything to register my protection order?

There is no fee for registering your protection order in Illinois.1

1 750 ILCS 60/222.5(d)