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How Orders of Protection Work with Married Couples

Knowing how orders of protection work with married couples can be lifesaving in a dangerous situation. If there is any abuse or a threat of abuse between married couples, one spouse could request an order of protection that keeps him or her safe from the other spouse. If you are the victim of domestic violence in a married couple, you may be able to seek a protective order against your abusive spouse.

What Is Domestic Violence?

Before requesting an order of protection, you might wonder, “How does Illinois define domestic violence?” 

According to Illinois law, domestic violence counts as any form of:

  • Physical abuse — This may include physical force or restraint, sexual abuse, intentional sleep deprivation, and putting others at risk of physical harm.
  • Harassment — Illinois defines harassment as any type of unnecessary conduct resulting in a degree of emotional distress.
  • Interference with personal liberty — This could entail threats or acts of intimidation, abuse, harassment, and deprivation.
  • Intimidation of dependents — Some dependents may suffer from intimidation involving the abuser forcing them into restraint, confinement, or witnessing physical force.
  • Willful deprivation — Abusers may also deprive individuals of critical resources such as food, shelter, medical care, or medication.

Obtaining a Domestic Violence Protective Order

If you suffer from abuse at the hands of your spouse, you may be able to request a domestic violence protective order. The goal of these orders is to provide protection from abusive spouses and other people who are close to an abuse victim. In addition to married couples, domestic violence protective orders may apply to unmarried couples, former couples, and close relatives.

Protective orders could protect spouses, partners, children, and relatives such as siblings or parents.

What You Need to Know About Orders of Protection With Married Couples

Victims of abuse who are part of a married couple may seek orders of protection through Family Court. They may also go through the Family Court in other situations involving abuse.

For example, you may file for an order of protection if you have a child with the abuser, your abuser is a blood relative, you and the abuser share a home together, or if you are currently dating or have dated the abuser. If you successfully file for an order of protection through Family Court, this order will work in a number of ways. Through this order, the court will be able to help keep your spouse away from you, your family, your job, and your residence. Your spouse will also be unable to contact you in any way, and he or she will be unable to commit further harm to you or your loved ones, including your children. Failure to adhere to the requirements of the protective order will result in the offender’s arrest.

How Protective Orders Work

Depending on your circumstances, you can file for one of three different types of protective orders. Each applies to different levels of urgency and required protection. 

The different protective orders include temporary or interim protective orders, permanent or plenary protective orders, and emergency protective orders (EPOs). In the case of temporary and permanent orders of protection, you will need to complete the necessary paperwork and get a judge’s permission to receive an order of protection. However, EPOs work differently in that law enforcement officers must request these from judges. 

In addition to ordering your spouse to stay away from you and your family, an order of protection can perform other functions. It can also keep the person from owning a firearm, demand him or her to move out of the home shared with you, or require the spouse to pay either spousal or child support. If the person doesn’t comply with the demands of the order of protection, law enforcement can get a warrant to arrest him or her, leading the person to pay a fine, serve time in jail, or face both consequences.

When filing for a protective order, you and your spouse will be able to present both sides of the story, along with any evidence supporting your arguments. 

What to Do If You Aren’t Married and Need Protection

If you are no longer married to your spouse but want protection through an order of protection, you may have the ability to file for a Peace Order. A Peace Order will be able to provide protection for abuse victims even if they don’t have a close relationship with the abuser. However, Peace Orders don’t last as long as traditional orders of protection.

How Long Do Orders of Protection Last?

The length of time a protective order lasts will depend on the type of order in place. In most cases, if you file for a temporary protective order, this will last from a full week (seven days) to the date of your court hearing. If the court decides to issue a permanent protective order, you will typically be able to receive protection from your spouse for up to two years. However, you may be able to request extensions in some cases. For example, you may be able to get an extension for up to five years if your spouse engaged in particularly aggressive behavior or violated an existing order, which would offer more lasting protection.

Help With Requesting an Order of Protection Is Available

If you need any assistance with filing for an order of protection against your spouse, you may be able to work with a domestic violence attorney. Like other legal issues, cases involving orders of protection can become complex and difficult to navigate. This is why it’s necessary to learn how orders of protection work with married couples and the different steps you need to take to file these orders with the court.

Pensive mid adult couple having marriage counseling with a therapist in the office.

He helps clients resolve issues relating to family law, including divorce, parenting time and parental responsibilities, paternity, and child support. As a skilled real estate attorney as well, Scott also provides advice and legal representation to clients who are purchasing or selling residential or commercial property in Illinois.

Years of Experience: Approx. 30 years
Illinois Registration Status: Active
Bar & Court Admissions: Illiois Courts Northern District of Illinois Federal Courts Illinois State Bar Association Chicago Bar Association

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