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How do I know if I need an order of protection?

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Before going any further, if you are seriously asking yourself that question then you should consider seeking help right away. You can get help fast by talking to a lawyer or by reaching out to a program like the Illinois Coalition against Domestic Violence. In many cases by the time a person (female or male) starts asking such questions then it is clear that a problem already exists even if no physical violence has yet made an appearance.

If you are still unsure whether or not you need to take action, here are some of the early warning signs of potential domestic violence or abuse:

-- Making embarrassing or humiliating remarks about you

-- Controlling what you do, where you go and who you talk to

-- Threatening you with violence

-- Threatening to keep your children from you

-- Threatening you with weapons

Often, the behaviors above can turn into actual physical contact which in many cases can escalate into serious violence. Illinois offers three types of protection orders:

In an immediate crisis, you can get an emergency order that lasts for 14 to 21 days. A judge can issue this order on a 24 hour basis without hearing the other party's side if he or she believes you are in immediate danger.

You can get an interim order as well, but the other party must have already appeared in court or been notified about a court appearance first. It is valid for 30 days.

A plenary order can be issued after the other party has presented his or her side of the story along with evidence supporting the claim. This type of order can be valid for up to two years.

The bottom line here is that it is more than okay for you to seek protection. You can learn more by talking about your issues with an Illinois family law attorney.

Source: WomensLaw.org, "Orders of Protection," accessed May 03, 2016

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