Domestic violence is often an issue in family law cases. Illinois has a system of laws to help protect victims of domestic violence and their children. Emotions typically run high in custody and parenting time cases. If you have been the victim of abuse, you need to understand your rights.
Orders of Protection
Victims of domestic violence can go to a court to ask for an Order of Protection. They do not need to inform the abuser, or anyone else, about going to get an Order of Protection. While each county in Illinois has its own process, the basic steps for getting an Order of Protection are the same everywhere.
You will need to complete an application where you explain why you qualify for an Order of Protection. This includes describing the abuse, naming the abuser, and explaining your relationship with the abuser. This application is completed under oath.
A judge reviews the application and may have some follow-up questions. If the judge finds the information credible, and you meet all the legal qualifications for an Order of Protection, a judge will issue an order immediately. Law enforcement will be tasked with serving the order on the abuser.
The order forbids the abuser from making contact with you or your children. Violating the Order of Protection is a crime. You do not have to report the domestic abuse to the police; however, it is often in your best interest to do so.
One consequence of an Order of Protection is that the abuser will not be able to have parenting time or visitation with your children unless a judge modifies the order. Many times, before allowing any visitation with the subject of an Order of Protection, family court judges will appoint a custody evaluator and maybe even an attorney to represent the children.
One option judges often turn to is ordering supervised visitation at a neutral location. This allows children to continue to have contact with their parent, yet it also protects them from being harmed.
Every case is unique. Before a permanent decision is made there will be studies and hearings to gather all of the information and evidence. The court’s primary job in a custody case is to make decisions that are in the best interests of the children. This includes keeping the children safe, and it also includes fostering healthy relationships with both parties when possible.
If you have been the victim of domestic violence, or you have questions about custody and parenting time, you need to speak with an experienced DuPage County family law attorney. Call Sullivan Taylor & Gumina, P.C. at 630-665-7676 to schedule your consultation today.