Domestic violence victims in Illinois have access to various remedies, including obtaining an order of protection, which is a court order requiring the accused abuser to stop abuse or to prevent the alleged abuser from coming near the petitioner. If the petitioner no longer wants the order in place, she can file a motion to vacate the order of protection.
Order of Protection in Illinois: Rules
An order of protection is designed to protect a victim of domestic violence from his accused abuser. Under Illinois law, domestic violence includes physical violence and threats as well as harassment and interference with the personal liberty of a family member or other person in the household. These include:
- People who are related to each other by blood.
- People who are married to each other or were once married to each other.
- People who share or once shared a residence.
- People who have a child together or who have a blood relationship through a child in common.
- People who are dating or once dated.
- Disabled people and their personal assistants.
What an Order of Protection Does
Once a victim obtains an order of protection, the order essentially stops the accused abuser from committing further abuse and may remove the accused from the household. Specifically, an accused under an order of protection might order one or more types of relief, including but not limited to:
- Prohibit the accused from continuing the abuse.
- Bar the accused from the home at all times or during times when she is using drugs and alcohol, or even bar the abuser from coming near the victim and others protected by the order, such as children.
- Require that the accused attend counseling.
- Bar the accused from taking children from the home or out of state, or give temporary legal custody of children to the victim and outline visitation rights and child support payments.
- Bar the accused from possessing firearms and other weapons and require that any be turned over to law enforcement.
Read More: How to Vacate an Order of Protection
Finding an Order of Protection Form
Order of Protection forms are available at the county clerk's office. Some county clerks may have the forms available online through the county website.
Vacating an Order of Protection
If a victim feels that she is no longer in danger and wants to vacate the protective order, she can ask the court to vacate the order. However, the court is not required to do so and may, in fact, deny the request if the judge feels that the victim is still in danger.
Regardless, the proper way to vacate a protective order is to file a motion to terminate the order.
Filing a Motion to Vacate an Order of Protection in Illinois
To vacate a protective order, the victim will need to file a motion to terminate the order of protection. A motion is a document that a party to a court proceeding files with the court to ask the judge to do something.
In the case of a motion to terminate or vacate an order of protection, the victim will need to prepare a document that explains why he wants to terminate the order. The motion will have to be mailed to the accused. Once the motion is filed, the court will set a hearing date, and the victim will have to appear and explain the situation to the judge.
The judge will want to be sure that the motion was filed voluntarily and that the victim was not compelled to do so by the accused abuser. If the judge feels the victim is still in danger or was forced to file the motion, she may deny the motion.
- Cook County Clerk of the Circuit Court: Orders of Protection
- Illinois Attorney General: Illinois Domestic Violence Act
- Cosley Law Office: Getting an Order of Protection Dropped in Illinois
- Illinois Legal Aid: Changing or Renewing an Order of Protection
- Cook County Clerk of the Circuit Court: Where Can I get an Order of Protection Form?
- Remember that until your Illinois order of protection is vacated that the other party is legally barred from contacting you.
- Also remember that if the situation escalates again, you can return to the appropriate Illinois court and get a new order of protection.
- Do not bring the other party with you to your local Illinois courthouse. This could cause the judge or magistrate to deny your request; court officials want to make sure you’re not being intimidated into canceling the order.
Rebecca K. McDowell is a creditors' rights attorney with a special focus on bankruptcy and insolvency. She has a B.A. in English from Albion College and a J.D. from Wayne State University Law School. She has written legal articles for Nolo and the Bankruptcy Site.