What is a Restraining Order?

“Restraining Order” is a Court order that precludes the defendant from engaging in certain acts, which may affect your safety or security. Such person may be precluded from contacting you altogether. Or, if you do not wish to preclude all contact, a person may be limited to only contacting you in writing or by other selected mode of communication. The Restraining Order may apply to specific locations such as where you reside, work, attend school, etc. The Restraining Order may grant the victim of domestic violence exclusive use and possession of the parties’ common residence, and the other party may be precluded from going to such residence altogether pending further court order. The offending party may be ordered to do other things by the court to help ensure the victim’s safety, including surrendering firearms and other weapons, and may be ordered to complete a court-approved domestic violence program.

The Restraining Order apply in family law cases where parties are married, were previously married, resided together, have a child together, have had an intimate relationship, are related by blood, are pregnant by the other party, or have another type of relationship defined by statute. The Restraining Order in Illinois is governed by Illinois Statute 750 ILCS 60/101, the Illinois Domestic Violence Act of 1986.

The Restraining Order is a civil order (i.e. it is not a criminal proceeding). The restraining order can generally remain in effect for as long as two years. However, the judge has the discretion to issue it for as little time or as much time as he or she determines is appropriate. The petitioner can renew the restraining order near the time that the order is scheduled to expire. Please note there is a one-month grace period to renew and if more time than this passes the petitioner will have to start the entire application process over again. A restraining order can usually only be renewed one time. After the one renewal, the petitioner may reapply for a new restraining order.

The restraining order enables law enforcement agencies to intervene at the earliest indications of threatening, harassing, or otherwise violent behavior.

A Petition for Restraining Order is generally filed by a party who has been or may be subjected to domestic violence, or by a parent, legal guardian or custodian of a minor who has been or may be subjected to domestic violence. It is important to note that “domestic violence” does not mean that a person has to be subjected to physical violence or that a person has to prove he or she was injured.

The Court needs to only have “reasonable cause to believe” that a person has engaged in domestic violence, or may engage in domestic violence, in order to issue the Restraining Order. To keep the Restraining Order in place, an evidentiary hearing is conducted days after a temporary order is issued. It is recommended that you be very specific in your petition.

If you are consider trying to obtain a restraining order and would like to discuss your options, please contact one of the attorneys at Anderson & Boback.

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