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FAQs on Civil No Contact Order in Illinois (CNCO)

Updated on
November 25, 2020
Article written by
Attorney Christine Hunt

In this article we answer the frequently asked questions about civil no contact orders including what is a civil no contact order, who can file for a civil no contact order, and other important information about civil no contact orders including:

  • What is a civil no contact order (CNCO) in Illinois?
  • Who can file for a civil no contact order (CNCO) in Illinois?
  • How much does it cost to file a civil no contact order (CNCO) in Illinois?
  • Will I need to disclose my address to obtain a civil no contact order (CNCO) in Illinois?
  • What information do I need to know about the perpetrator to ask for a civil no contact order (CNCO) in Illinois?
  • What kind of proof do I need to obtain a civil no contact order (CNCO) in Illinois?
  • Will I have to go through the process of obtaining a civil no contact order (CNCO) alone in Illinois?
  • Will I need to appear in front of a jury for a civil no contact order (CNCO) in Illinois?
  • Where do I file for a civil no contact order (CNCO) in Illinois?
  • What can a civil no contact order (CNCO) prohibit a person from doing in Illinois?
  • Are monetary damages available as part of a civil no contact order (CNCO) in Illinois?
  • How long can a civil no contact order (CNCO) last in Illinois?
  • What happens if the Respondent violates the civil no contact order (CNCO) in Illinois?
  • What if I move? Will my Illinois civil no contact order (CNCO) still be effective?

For information on the difference between a civil no contact order, order of protection, stalking no contact order, and a restraining order, see our article here (link). That article explains who is eligible for each type of court order and the different types of remedies available under each type of order.

What is a civil no contact order (CNCO) in Illinois?

A civil no contact order is sometimes abbreviated as a CNCO. The terms “civil no contact order” and CNCO are interchangeable. A CNCO is a civil “stay away” order for rape victims and sexual abuse victims who have no other relationship with the offender. (“Relationship” is a legal definition that is broadly defined to mean family or household member.)

A CNCO is a court order that can protect you, your family, or another household member from contact by a person who has sexually assaulted or sexually abused you (legally described as “non-consensual sexual conduct or sexual penetration”). A CNCO is a civil order. While it is possible for you to separately press criminal charges, it is not required that you press criminal charges to pursue a civil CNCO. Also, it is important to know that any person who is the victim of rape or sexual abuse can file for a CNCO regardless of their gender, sex, or age.

Who can file for a civil no contact order (CNCO) in Illinois?

Any person who is a victim of “non-consensual sexual conduct or non-consensual sexual penetration” can file for a CNCO. In general terms, this means anyone who is the victim of rape or sexual abuse is eligible to seek a CNCO. A single act of rape or sexual abuse is sufficient to file for a CNCO.

Also, it’s important to note that a parent (or other person) may file on behalf of a victim who is a minor child or on behalf of an adult victim who because of age, disability, health, or inaccessibility cannot file the petition on their own.

How much does it cost to file a civil no contact order (CNCO) in Illinois?

No filing fee is charged by the clerk of the court to file a CNCO. Also, no fee is charged by the sheriff’s office for service related to the CNCO. If a victim hires an attorney, the attorney may charge for attorney’s fees. Attorney’s fees are often charged based on an hourly rate.

Will I need to disclose my address to obtain a civil no contact order (CNCO) in Illinois?

If the disclosure of an address would risk abuse of the victim or any members of the victim’s family or household, that address may be omitted from all documents filed with the court. An alternate address for notice must however be provided.

What information do I need to know about the perpetrator to ask for a civil no contact order (CNCO) in Illinois?

You need to know the perpetrator’s name and an address where the perpetrator can be served. The address can be a home address, work address, or school address. It is helpful, but not necessary to know the perpetrator’s date of birth.

What kind of proof do I need to obtain a civil no contact order (CNCO) in Illinois?

Testimony by the victim can be sufficient proof to have a CNCO entered. However, if photographs, videos, text messages, other witness testimony, or other evidence is available, that can also be utilized to help establish the case. The standard of proof for a CNCO is proof by a “preponderance of evidence.” This means that the court will weigh the credibility of evidence and if the court finds the claim is more than 50% likely to be true, then the CNCO will be entered.

Will I have to go through the process of obtaining a civil no contact order (CNCO) alone in Illinois?

You are permitted to have a rape crisis advocate assist you with completing the paperwork and appearing in court for support. The advocate will not be able to speak on your behalf or present your case to the judge. You are also permitted to hire an attorney to advocate on your behalf. An attorney will be able to advocate on your behalf and be able to present your case to the judge. If the Respondent is represented by counsel, the court may appoint counsel to represent the you.

Will I need to appear in front of a jury for a civil no contact order (CNCO) in Illinois?

No. A CNCO is granted by a judge. Juries are not used for CNCO. If there is a separate criminal proceeding, a jury might be utilized in that proceeding.

Where do I file for a civil no contact order (CNCO) in Illinois?

A Petitioner has a few options as to which county to file for a CNCO. It can be filed, where the Petitioner lives, where the Respondent lives, or where the sexual abuse/ rape occurred. In terms of the logistics of where to actually file the Petition for a Civil No Contact Order, it’s easiest to e-file online through one of the e-filing systems such as Odyssey eFileIL.

What can a civil no contact order (CNCO) prohibit a person from doing in Illinois?

  1. Prohibiting the perpetrator from coming within a specified distance from the victim or victim’s residence, school, day care, or other specified location.
  2. Prohibiting the perpetrator from having any contact with the victim. This prohibition includes all forms of contact including but not limited to phone calls, text messages, emails, notes, faxes, in person contact, etc.
  3. Requiring perpetrator to stay away from property or animals owned/ possessed by the victim and prohibiting perpetrator from damaging or harming the property or animals.
  4. Other injunctive relief.

Are monetary damages available as part of a civil no contact order (CNCO) in Illinois?

No. Monetary damages are not available as part of a CNCO.

How long can a civil no contact order (CNCO) last in Illinois?

An emergency CNCO can be issues for 14-21 days. A Plenary CNCO may be entered for up to two years. A CNCO may be extended thereafter.

What happens if the Respondent violates the civil no contact order (CNCO) in Illinois?

If the Respondent violates the CNCO, the victim should call the police. A police report should be made to document the incident. Additionally, the police may arrest the Respondent without a warrant if the officer has probable cause to believe that the person has committed or is committing a violation of a civil no contact order. Any knowing violation of a CNCO is a Class A misdemeanor. Any second or subsequent violation is a Class 4 felony. Additionally, the court can hold a Respondent in contempt of court for violating a CNCO.

What if I move? Will my Illinois civil no contact order (CNCO) still be effective?

Yes, a CNCO is enforceable, throughout the United States even if you no longer live in the issuing state.


FAQs on Civil No Contact Order in Illinois (CNCO)
Author

Attorney Christine Hunt

Christine has experience in family law including divorce, parentage, parenting time, parental allocation, child support, domestic violence, and post decree matters as well as estate planning and business law.

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