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)
Who is eligible for an order of protection?
You can file an order of protection against a family or household member who has committed acts of domestic violence against you or your minor child. Also, the following other people may apply: any high-risk adult with disabilities who is abused, neglected, or exploited by a family or household member; any minor child or dependent adult in the care of such person; and any person living or employed at a private home or public shelter which houses an abused family or household member may also be eligible to apply for an order of protection.1
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.
Also, anyone can file a petition 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)