An order of protection is a court-issued directive intended to keep the petitioner and his or her children safe from domestic violence. When utilized properly, such orders serve a very important and valuable purpose. Unfortunately, in some cases, an order of protection may be used as a strategy to gain an unfair advantage in a divorce or child-related legal proceedings. Under Illinois law, a pattern of abuse or domestic violence is to be considered when allocating parental responsibilities and parenting time. Therefore, a parent or spouse can use an order of protection—even one issued under arguably questionable pretenses—as an attempt to influence the outcome of his or her case.
Emergency Order of Protection
When dealing with the possibility of domestic violence or abuse, Illinois courts tend to err on the side of caution. With that in mind, the law permits a judge to issue an emergency order of protection based solely on the sworn testimony of the person who filed the petition. Sometimes known as a restraining order, an emergency order of protection can require the subject, or respondent, to avoid contact with the petitioner, to stay away from the marital home, and may temporarily suspend or restrict parenting time rights. There are also many other actions or limitations that may be contained in an emergency order or protection, and the court is expected to include those which are needed to keep the petitioner and his or her children safe.
Your Rights to Contest the Order
The court can and, in many cases, will issue an emergency order of protection before the respondent has the opportunity to appear to present his or her side of the story. While such discretion is important to be able to provide immediate security for a petitioner who is truly in danger, if you are falsely accused of domestic violence, it can certainly make your life very difficult. Once an emergency order of protection has been issued, a hearing will be scheduled to determine if further protective action is necessary. At that hearing, you will have the opportunity to appear, present your case, and get the limitations against you lifted.
In the Meantime…
…do not violate the terms of the order! It is extremely critical that, no matter how unfair or baseless the order may be, you follow its instructions to the letter. Violating an order of protection can result in criminal charges and can even more severely damage your credibility in a family law proceeding. An emergency order of protection can only remain in effect for up to 21 days. During that time, work with a skilled attorney who can help you prepare for your upcoming hearing. Your attorney can also help you understand exactly what is and what is not permitted according to the order against you, ensuring that you remain in compliance at all times.
If a court has issued an emergency order of protection against you, contact an experienced family lawyer in Kane County. The attorneys at Bochte, Kuzniar & Navigato, P.C. are ready to help you protect your rights and ensure that you are treated fairly throughout the process. Call 630-377-7770 to schedule a free initial consultation today.