, Photo of Terry Fawell and Alex James Fawell ,
Championing Your Rights

The Protection You Need When Things Become Unstable

A breakup is always a major life change. It can be hard for both parties. It becomes more difficult and even life-threatening if one person has a history of abuse and uses threats and intimidation tactics to try to manipulate or scare the other person.

At Fawell & Fawell, we are an established family law firm. We understand what physical, mental abuse looks like. If you suffer from PTSD, feel threatened and worry about being harmed by a former partner, you can use the law to protect yourself.

Two Ways To Stop Abuse Or Harassment

Victims of harmful and unwanted attention and interaction can seek either an order of protection or a no-contact order. The difference between these two is the type of law they fall under. A no-contact order is criminal and an order of protection is civil.

  • A no-contact order typically is in response to assault or domestic violence, rape or intimidation. To obtain this you must go to the courthouse and file an application. The other party does not need to be present or know about the petition. After this, the court will create a temporary protective order. In 15 days a hearing is held. The hearing will determine whether a permanent protective order is needed. In Illinois, a permanent protective order lasts one year and a no-contact order typically lasts five years. These orders can be modified or canceled by the applicant.
  • An order of protection is any of three types. It can be an emergency order of protection (EOP) which takes effect immediately upon the judge’s approval. Only the person seeking the order needs to be present. This order lasts two to three weeks. When an EOP is issued, a hearing date is set for a plenary order. A plenary order of protection happens after a hearing with both the person seeking the protection and the person they are seeking the order against. Plenary means “absolute” or “total.” If the person accused of abuse does not show up, the plenary order is automatically granted. The order can last up to two years. The third type of order is an interim order of protection. This is temporary and lasts for a day or two up to a month (30 days).

Your No. 1 priority is to ensure that you and your family are safe. Always do this first. If you have not left your abuser yet, create a plan. Put your essential items in a place you can easily reach them. Know how you will exit the premises. Have a code word to use so family or friends know when you are in trouble and can call the police. Once you are safe, get to the courthouse and get the protective order you need.

Once you are in a safe place, call a family law attorney for assistance or guidance in this process. The number for the National Domestic Violence hotline is 800-799-SAFE (7233). You can file for an order against a former or current intimate partner, spouse or former spouse. If you are or were married, you can file at any time, before, during or after you seek a divorce. There is no law in Illinois regarding spousal abandonment so do not worry about that.

The Consequences For Violating An Order

No-contact orders are serious and violation of an order has severe consequences, including a year of jail time and $2,500 in fines. In Illinois, violation of the order amounts to contempt of court, typically a Class A misdemeanor. Additionally, if convicted, the violator can be ordered to pay restitution, attend counseling and surrender their personal firearms.

Modifying An Order

There are two ways to modify an order of protection: the person who took out the order can ask the court to change it. Typically this means the no-contact part of the order is dropped but the no-abuse part is kept. The other option is for the person who took out the order to have the order stopped or terminated. This will completely end the order.

Legal Assistance For Victims Of Harassment Or Abuse

As experienced family law attorneys who frequently work with domestic violence issues, we put your safety as our first concern. We can help you pursue and obtain the protection you need. Call 630-480-6253 or send us a confidential email with how to get in touch with you and we will respond. We help people throughout the Wheaton area.