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DuPage County family law attorney order of protection

If you have been the victim of domestic violence or you have reason to believe that a family or household member may become physically violent toward you or your children, there are legal actions you can take to protect yourself and your kids. A protection order or “restraining order” is a court order that prohibits a person from contacting or coming within a certain distance of another person. If the subject of the protection order violates the order, he or she faces immediate arrest and possible criminal charges. Obtaining an emergency order of protection is often the first step in leaving an abusive spouse or escaping an abusive family member.

How Does an Emergency Order of Protection Work?

Protection orders are used to protect against abuse, stalking, or harassment from former or current spouses, partners, roommates, or family members. An Emergency Order of Protection (EOP) can be customized to your particular situation. Your EOP may prohibit the abusive person or “respondent” from:

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DuPage County domestic abuse attorney order of protection

Domestic abuse or intimate partner violence affects millions of people across the country, including in the state of Illinois. According to the Illinois Coalition Against Domestic Violence, one in three women and one in seven men are victims of domestic violence. Physical abuse, psychological abuse, financial abuse, or stalking can make a person feel as if his or her own home is a prison. If you have been the victim of domestic violence, one option you may want to consider is an emergency order of protection (EOP). Sometimes called restraining orders, EOPs are legally enforceable court orders that require an alleged abuser to cease abusive and harassing behaviors. A knowledgeable family law attorney can help you through the legal process of obtaining this important document. 

What Is Domestic Violence?

Domestic violence is abuse involving a past or current family member, household member, romantic partner, spouse or ex-spouse, or someone who is the parent of the alleged victim’s child. Many alleged abusers use manipulation, intimidation, threats, and physical violence to control their alleged victims. This may include pushing, hitting, strangling, and other physical violence as well as harassment such as repeatedly following the victim. An abuser may attempt to weaken the victim’s independence and convince the victim that the abuse is somehow his or her fault. No one should have to tolerate this type of treatment. Fortunately, there are legal remedies available in Illinois that can help protect victims of domestic violence.

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DuPage County divorce lawyer for stalking and harassmentDivorce can sometimes bring out the worst in people. In some cases, a resentful spouse may resort to stalking or harassing their spouse in an attempt to get their attention or intimidate them into meeting divorce-related demands. Stalking can include repeatedly showing up at the spouse’s home, school, or workplace, or it may involve repeatedly contacting the spouse over the phone or via text messages, email, or social media. Whether you have been a victim of abuse, stalking, or another form of domestic violence, you should know that you have several options under Illinois law that can help keep you and your loved ones safe.  

What Constitutes Stalking?

Stalking is typically defined as knowingly and repeatedly harassing another person with the intent to cause him or her harm or fear of being harmed. This may include following the victim from place to place, remaining outside the victim’s home for long periods of time, or showing up at places that the victim is likely to be with the intent of scaring him or her. Stalking may also include contacting or monitoring someone through a smartphone, computer, GPS system, or another electronic device. This so-called “cyberstalking” can be just as emotionally distressing as physical harassment. Some stalking victims may worry that they are overreacting to their spouse’s behavior. However, it is always better to be safe rather than sorry. If your spouse’s actions make you fear for your safety or the safety of your children, family members, or pets, you need to take action right away.

Obtaining an Order of Protection

Orders of protection, which are sometimes called restraining orders, are legally enforceable court orders that prohibit someone from harassing or abusing another person. An Emergency Order of Protection can often be obtained immediately if a person fears for their safety. These orders may include several different provisions, including but not limited to:

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Wheaton, IL order of protection defense lawyerThe National Coalition Against Domestic Violence estimates that one in every four U.S. women and one in every seven U.S. men have experienced domestic violence. Physical abuse, psychological manipulation, financial exploitation, and other forms of abuse exist within many families. Sadly, some people choose to use false accusations of domestic violence or abuse in an attempt to influence family law cases. Whether it is a divorce, child custody dispute, or another family law matter, allegations of abuse will likely have a major impact on the outcome of the case. If you have been accused of abusing a family member, there are several actions you should take immediately.

Gather Evidence and Witnesses That Support Your Side of the Story

One of the first things you should do if you are accused of abuse is to obtain any evidence that can help prove that the accusations are untrue. This may include things like text messages, voicemails, emails, letters, and other correspondence. Also, start thinking of witnesses who can corroborate your side of the story during any legal proceedings. Witnesses who are willing to testify about your character can be extremely beneficial to your case.

Consider Requesting a Guardian Ad Litem

A guardian ad litem (GAL) is a lawyer who may be assigned to a family law case involving children. He or she does not represent either party in the dispute, but instead advocates for the children’s best interests. The GAL may visit each parent’s home and conduct interviews with parents, teachers, doctors, family members, and the children themselves in order to form an educated opinion about what is best for the children. The GAL then makes a recommendation to the court about what case outcome he or she thinks will protect the children’s best interests.

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DuPage County divorce mediation lawyerIn previous blogs, we have discussed the many advantages of divorce mediation. Mediation is an alternative dispute resolution method that is much less stressful and expensive than court litigation. When a couple disagrees about child custody, spousal maintenance, or other terms of their divorce, mediation can help them reach an agreement that works for both parties. However, mediation is not right for every divorcing couple. A qualified divorce attorney can help you decide whether or not mediation will be in your best interests while working to protect your rights throughout the divorce process.

Marriages Involving Domestic Violence or Abuse

The main element of any abusive relationship is an imbalance of power. An abusive spouse may use physical violence, threats of harm, intimidation, gaslighting, and other tactics to maintain power and control over his or her victim. It is important to note that domestic violence does not only include physical abuse. It can also involve financial abuse, emotional or verbal abuse, and sexual abuse. If a person is leaving an abusive marriage, divorce mediation is rarely recommended, because the imbalance of power makes a cooperative mediation process virtually impossible.

Divorce Involving Financial Fraud

Many divorce issues discussed during mediation involve finances. In order for spouses to negotiate the terms of their divorce, both spouses must be transparent and honest about the assets they own, the income they earn, and the debts they owe. If a spouse is hiding assets or lying about income, property, or debts, mediation may be a waste of time. Some spouses may even dissipate, or waste, marital assets prior to divorce by spending money on an affair, drug or alcohol addiction, gambling addiction, or for other reasons. If you have reason to believe that your spouse is lying about their finances or has dissipated marital assets, you should contact an attorney right away.

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