Orders of Protection-what are the differences?


People will call our offices and ask for advice regarding an Order of Protection; either they want to obtain one against someone of one has been obtained against them.  In the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act, if the Court finds that petitioner has been abused by a family or household member or that petitioner is a high-risk adult who has been abused, neglected, or exploited, as defined in the act, an order of protection prohibiting the abuse, neglect, or exploitation shall issue 750 ILCS 60/214.  However, what most people don’t know is that there are a few different types of Orders of 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.  In 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.  750 ILCS 60/217(a)(3)(ii) 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. 750 ILCS 60/217(a)(3)(iii)

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.  750 ILCS 60/217(c)(1) The emergency order will last until you can have a full hearing for a plenary order, usually within 14-21 days.  750 ILCS 60/220(a)(1)

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. 750 ILCS 60/218(a)(3)  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. 750 ILCS 60/220(a)(2)

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, 750 ILCS 60/220(b) and there is no limit on the number of times an order of protection can be renewed.  750 ILCS 60/220(e)


Unfortunately, Orders of Protection can be needed to protect oneself, a minor child or an incapacitated adult but it is good to know that you can obtain the assistance of the Court when necessary.

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