The Abuse of Orders of Protection

Orders of protection were established as a way to combat, deter, and respond to concerns of domestic violence and domestic abuse. They are also commonly sought by individuals going through divorce, as a way to legally separate themselves from their soon-to-be ex-spouse while the proceedings are still emotionally difficult and tensions are high.

Domestic Relationships

Under Illinois law, you are able to request an order of protection against a family or household member. An order of protection can also be filed against a person with whom you may have shared an intimate relationship, even if that relationship is over and was never legally recognized either by marriage or domestic partnership. An order of protection can also be filed against a blood family member or a family member related by marriage.

When a person files an order of protection in Illinois, a court date is set for a hearing so that the basis for the order can be investigated. In the meantime, the court may determine that an emergency order of protection is needed based solely on the sworn testimony of the petitioner.

Court-Ordered Restrictions

If the order is issued—emergency, interim, or plenary—the subject of the order will be legally prohibited from any type of abuse against the filer, including harassment, which can be a murky thing to delineate. The subject will likely also be required to attend counseling, or to leave a shared residence or home. He or she may also be prohibited from seeing his or her children or from taking the children out of state. In extreme situations, the subject may even be barred from certain public areas.

While this is all good practice if the order was indeed necessary, orders of protection are often themselves abused, especially in a nasty divorce. An order of protection may actually be used by a slighted wife as a tactical plan to do better in the divorce settlement. An estimated 85 percent of protective orders are filed against men, and by many estimates, a large percentage of these are actually “bogus” orders filed against men in a bitter legal proceeding. This is far easier to do than one may think, as documented evidence of abuse is not required—a woman need only say that she fears for her safety and she can be issued an emergency order of protection.

Get Help Immediately

If you have been named as the subject of an order of protection, it is imperative to seek legal counsel. The risks are too great to try to navigate the situation on your own. Contact an experienced Orland Park family law attorney today to discuss your case and to be sure your rights are fully protected. Call 708-518-8200 for your free initial consultation at Kezy & Associates.