My spouse is abusing me. What are my legal options?

Anyone who believes they are in imminent danger should call 911 immediately and report the situation to the authorities.

In non-emergency situations, it is important to determine whether an Order of Protection or a Stay Away Order is necessary. Under Illinois law, people may petition a court for an Order of Protection or a Stay Away Order against individuals who are abusing or harassing them. Orders can only be sought against people in certain legally defined relationships (including: spouses/former spouses, boyfriends/girlfriends, unmarried individuals who have a child in common, or people living in a shared or common dwelling). The definition of domestic violence in Illinois covers many behaviors, including physical abuse (defined by law as sexual abuse, physical force, confinement or restraint, purposeful sleep deprivation, or behaviors which create an immediate risk of physical harm). Intimidation or harassment may also be grounds for the issuance of a protective order.

An Order of Protection may be civil or criminal in nature and is designed to stop the abusive behavior and protect victims of abuse. There are emergency Orders of Protection available to victims in immediate danger, and other types of orders that provide longer-term prohibitions to abusers and protections for victims. The details of each Order of Protection and the type requested will depend on the facts of each case; a judge can order an abuser to leave a shared home, stop the abusive behavior, and undergo counseling, among several options.

*DISCLAIMER: The questions and answers presented on this website are for informational purposes only and do not constitute legal advice, nor do they establish an attorney-client relationship.