• Locations
    • Chicago Office 77 W. Wacker Drive, 45th Floor, Chicago, IL 60601
    • Lake Forest Office 100 Saunders Rd., Suite 150 Lake Forest, IL 60045
    • Lisle Office 3333 Warrenville Rd.,Suite 200 Lisle, IL 60532

Domestic Violence Hearings: How To Prepare

A judge's legal gavel and Family Court nameplate shows the inside of a Chicago family law attorney's courthouse.

When cases involving domestic violence go before the courts in Illinois, the court conducts a hearing to determine whether the situation warrants a restraining order, and/or a child custody order, if applicable. Protective orders require the person who committed the domestic abuse to stay away from the victim. The court orders the abuser to stay away from the victim’s home, work and/or school.

What Is Domestic Abuse in Illinois?

Domestic violence affects many Illinois families, and when domestic violence occurs, action must be taken to protect the victims. Under the Illinois Domestic Violence Act, domestic violence or abuse can be:

  • Physical abuse;
  • Harassment;
  • Intimidation of a person’s child or other dependent;
  • Interfering with a victim’s personal freedom; or
  • Depriving a victim of his or her personal freedom.

Physical abuse can include the use of physical force, sexual abuse, repeated and purposeful sleep depravation of a victim. Harassment can include causing a scene at a victim’s work or school, repeatedly calling, texting, contacting, following or stalking a victim. Additionally, hiding a child from the victim or threatening a victim with physical force, restraint or confinement also constitutes harassment.

How To Begin Preparing

When you are the victim of domestic abuse seeking a protective order and/or a child custody order to keep you and your child safe is important. To obtain a protective order and/or a child custody order, the party seeking such orders must first file a petition for a protective order, which starts the domestic violence hearing process. The petition must be filed in accordance with state law in any one of the following:

  • The county where you live;
  • The county where the abuser lives;
  • The county where the abuse occurred; or
  • The county where you are temporarily located if you left your home due to the abuse and were unable to obtain safe temporary housing in the county where your home is located.

However, if you wish to request an exclusive possession order of your home (i.e., an order that keeps your abuser away from a home you share), you must file the petition in the county where the home is located. A domestic violence lawyer can help you to prepare the petition and file the petition in the appropriate court.

In addition to preparing your petition and filing your petition with the court, someone must take the appropriate steps to build your case. Building your case may include collecting evidence of the domestic abuse and contacting potential witnesses who can support your story about the domestic abuse. In addition, if you suffered injuries at the hands of your abuser, documenting the extent and the scope of your injuries with photographs and medical reports is important. The court considers evidence such as photographs and medical reports as highly credible.

Domestic violence is serious and obtaining a protective or child custody order is important to establish safety for both you and your child. The professionals at the Women’s Divorce & Family Law Group work with numerous victims of domestic violence, and we can help you. Please call 312-445-8830 or click here to schedule a consultation.

There are many factors to consider when contemplating divorce, and a pre-divorce planning session can help you begin to plan for a divorce. Please contact the professionals at the Women’s Divorce & Family Law Group by calling (312) 585-6604 or clicking here to schedule a consultation.


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Contact Information

Downtown Chicago/Loop Office
Lake Forest Office
Lisle Office
Lake Forest Office

100 Saunders Rd.
Suite 150

Lake Forest, IL 60045

Lisle Office

3333 Warrenville Rd.
Suite 200

Lisle, IL 60532

Downtown Chicago/Loop Office

77 W. Wacker Drive
45th Floor

Chicago, IL 60601

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