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Kevin O'Flaherty

While there have been no substantial changes to restraining order laws in Illinois for 2024, this article will highlight recent changes and the most up to date information. This article will also include a background of restraining orders and filing an order of protection, as well as the different types of restraining orders. This article is not intended to be exhaustive, but serves as a cursory overview of Illinois restraining orders

Changes to Illinois Restraining Orders

Effective January 1, 2023, a petitioner seeking to file an Illinois order of protection will have the option to file online or in-person. "A court in a county with a population above 250,000 shall offer the option of a remote hearing to a petitioner for a protective order. The court has the discretion to grant or deny the request for a remote hearing. Each court shall determine the procedure for a remote hearing. The petitioner and respondent may appear remotely or in-person."  

Filing a restraining order online has been significantly simplified. Here are the steps to follow:

  1. Visit the civil court’s website where the incident occurred or one of the parties resides.
  2. Fill out the necessary forms online.
  3. Submit the forms electronically.

Remote hearings are conducted using online platforms or video conferencing tools, facilitating proceedings irrespective of physical location.

Online Filing and Remote Hearing Options

The process of obtaining a restraining order has become more efficient and accessible with the move towards online filing and remote hearings. Here’s how you can do it:

  1. Visit the civil or criminal court’s website.
  2. Navigate to the section for filing an Order of Protection or restraining order.
  3. Electronically submit the required forms.

That’s all it takes!

In larger counties like Cook County, the process in civil or criminal court is even more streamlined with advocates available to assist in completing court papers and arranging video hearings through platforms such as Zoom. This option of remote filing for Orders of Protection is not limited to just a few counties but is available throughout the entire state of Illinois.

Photo of a person filing a petition at Circuit Court in Illinois

Revised Criteria for Protection Orders

The updated criteria for Illinois protection orders have expanded eligibility and permit the inclusion of specific provisions in the order, aligning closely with the victim’s safety needs. The legal foundation for these changes is rooted in the updates made to the Illinois Compiled Statutes, particularly in Section 60/214, to ensure that the orders of protection are more comprehensive.

Moreover, one of the most significant changes in the requirements for restraining orders in Illinois includes the extension of Plenary Orders of Protection to last up to two years. This change to the Domestic Violence Statute directly affects Orders of Protection and can lead to criminal prosecution for violations.

What Is An Order Of Protection Under Illinois Law?

An order of protection is a very focused order issued by the courts under The Illinois Domestic Violence Act (“IDVA”) 750 ILCS 60/102. Often when people think of restraining orders, they really mean an order of protection.  Orders of protection issued by Illinois courts to prevent domestic violence from another family member or member of the household.  An order of protection often comes with criminal penalties even though a civil court issued the order. Orders for protection are often more easily enforced than TROs and preliminary injunctions.  It is important to note that both criminal and civil courts can be venues for orders of protections.  

Who May Petition The Court For An Order Of Protection?

  • The IDVA has an extensive list of who may file a petition (commonly known as the “petitioner’). The petitioner may file a case against a family member, a member of the household, caregiver, current or former boyfriend, current or former girlfriend, current or former spouse, current or former household roommate, or the other parent with whom the couple share a child.  
  • The IDVA states that a correctly filed petition for an order for protection may seek protection for any additional persons under the Act. 750 ILCS 60/201(b) listed below:
  • The petitioner or the person whose behalf the petition was filed must be a “family member or household member” of the non-moving party (commonly known as the “respondent.)  The term “family or household member includes:
  • Spouses, former spouses, parents, children, stepchildren and other persons related by blood or by present or prior marriage;”  
  • Persons who share or formerly shared a common dwelling;
  • Persons who have or allegedly have a child in common;
  • Persons who share or allegedly share a blood relationship through a child;
  • Persons who have or have had a dating relationship or engagement relationship; and
  • Persons with disabilities and their personal assistants and caregivers.  

What Acts Are Barred With An Order Of Protection?

  • The IDVA defines abuse with a broad stroke and is defined by 750 ILCS 60/103(1) as “physical abuse, harassment, intimidation, interference with personal liberty or willful deprivation.”  
  • The Idva Provides The Most Expedient Remedy For Exclusive Possession Of A Residence
  • 750 ILCS 60/214(b) provides the remedy of exclusive possession to the petitioner and prevents the respondent “from entering or remaining in any residence, household, or premises of the petitioner, including one owned or leased by the respondent.”  
  • One can seek the remedy of temporary exclusive possession during divorce court proceedings under the IDMA 750 ILCS 5/501(c-2).  However, the burden of the petitioner is a lower bar than that of the IDMA.  If there is any allegation of abuse, it is best advised to pursue exclusive possession under the IDVA.  
  • The Civil No Contact Order Act, 740 ILCS 22/101, is not to be confused with restraining orders and orders of protection discussed above.  The Civil No Contact Order Act is to provide a remedy for the aggrieved party who does not have the required relationship with the other party to pursue filing a petition under the IDVA.
Illinois restraining order

What Is A Restraining Order Under Illinois Law?

A restraining order in Illinois is a rather broad term that covers orders issued by a civil court, mostly family law cases, to order a person to do or not do something.  A common example is often seen in family court cases ordering a spouse to do something, like continuing paying the mortgage while the matter is pending in court. It is also common practice in family court cases to order an party to prevent doing something, like draining bank accounts.  

In Illinois, there are several types of restraining orders available such as:

  • Orders of Protection
  • Civil No Contact Orders
  • Emergency and Interim Orders of Protection
  • Plenary Orders of Protection

Each type serves a specific purpose and offers different levels of protection. To understand each type better, let’s break them down into subsections.

These restraining orders are designed to offer varying degrees of protection to individuals facing different circumstances, whether it’s immediate safety concerns or long-term protection needs. Understanding the types of restraining orders can be crucial in deciding which one to opt for.

Emergency and Interim Orders

Emergency and interim restraining orders in Illinois offer temporary, short-term protection under an emergency order. They encompass measures such as prohibiting contact by the abuser, granting temporary custody of children, and ordering the abuser to vacate the shared residence. These protections are valid until a full hearing for a plenary order can be conducted.

Obtaining an emergency or interim restraining order in Illinois involves the following steps:

  1. Visit the relevant circuit court.
  2. Complete the required documentation.
  3. Present the completed forms to the court clerk.
  4. Participate in a hearing.
  5. Acquire copies of the order once it has been issued.

This process can be requested by any individual who has been a victim of domestic violence, stalking, or harassment.

Plenary Orders: Long-Term Protection

A Plenary Order of Protection in Illinois is a comprehensive and enduring order that offers substantial protection following a formal hearing. It ensures the safety and welfare of victims by restraining abusers from:

  • contacting or approaching the victim
  • entering the victim’s residence
  • going near the victim’s place of employment
  • going near the victim’s educational institution

In order to obtain a plenary order of protection in Illinois, the victim is required to present evidence of:

  • abuse
  • harassment
  • stalking
  • intimidation
  • physical abuse
  • neglect
  • exploitation by the abuser

Plenary orders can remain in effect for up to two years and may be prolonged through a Motion to Extend an Order of Protection.

If you have any questions regarding new laws regarding protective orders or restraining orders in Illinois, please reach out to one of our experienced restraining order attorneys at (630) 324-6666.  

Disclaimer: The information provided on this blog is intended for general informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject matter. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute an attorney-client relationship. Each individual's legal needs are unique, and these materials may not be applicable to your legal situation. Always seek the advice of a competent attorney with any questions you may have regarding a legal issue. Do not disregard professional legal advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this blog.

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