As a Schaumburg divorce attorney and a concerned member of the community, it is my professional obligation and my civic duty to do as much as possible to promote domestic peace and safety. In the past, I have served as an advocate for domestic violence victims at Eve, Inc., in Lansing, Michigan. Now, I take that perspective and experience to the courtroom.
Currently, my team of lawyers and I work tirelessly to reveal the truth of violence in the home — and to ensure justice is done in corollary family law matters. We also handle other complex and interrelated issues, such as international abduction, paternity, and so on.
Actions pertaining to domestic violence are serious. They often have a profound impact on family law cases. Accusations can quickly get out of hand and lead to criminal charges. They have dramatic effects on divorce proceedings, child custody decisions, visitation rights, paternity, and other aspects of family law cases.
At the Law Office of Fedor Kozlov, P.C., our reliable attorneys are well-versed in criminal law and family law matters. We have extensive experience in handling cases of domestic violence accusations for both sides. We have developed an iron-clad reputation for vigorously fighting to safeguard the rights and interests of our clients in Schaumburg and throughout the Greater Chicago area. Anyone facing this situation is welcome to contact us promptly for a confidential consultation.
What Is Domestic Violence?
Many types of abuse or mistreatment of family members or cohabitants could qualify as domestic violence. Accusations might result in immediate action by the authorities, but it is important for all parties to understand that accusations do not automatically equal abuse.
In legal terms, domestic violence refers to physical violence, emotional abuse, harassment, willful deprivation, interference with personal liberty, incarceration, or intimidation of a dependent of a household or family member. Some relationships that may be subject to domestic violence include:
- Blood relatives
- Caregivers of the disabled and elderly
- Children or stepchildren
- Siblings or step-siblings
- Boyfriends or girlfriends, both former and current
- Parents or stepparents
- Roommates, both former and current
- Spouses or ex-spouses
Everyone who shares a household could be a target. Although this is a family law matter, you do not have to be related to your abuser by blood or marriage.
Examples of Domestic Violence, Abuse, and Harassment
Domestic violence ranges considerably. A spouse who is physically abusive is only one example.
Some cases are not so obvious, and the law in this area is complex. Rather than make legally baseless accusations or imprudent defensive statements, it is usually more advantageous to contact a knowledgeable attorney.
With that in mind, the law does provide a framework for determining whether something might qualify as abuse or harassment. The following are generally presumed to be instances of domestic violence:
- Sexual abuse
- Physical violence
- Limitation of movement or placing someone in restraints
- Patterns of intentional sleep deprivation
- Abusing or threatening someone to prevent the exercise of personal liberty
- Creating public disturbances or placing someone under surveillance
- Repetitive calls or threats
- Willfully depriving someone of necessities (food, shelter, and so on)
- Making someone witness or participate in violence, restraint, or confinement
- Hiding someone’s children from them (apart from fleeing violence)
- Behaving so as to put someone at risk
Domestic Violence in the Context of Personal Injury Law
Although the presence of domestic violence changes many family law processes, the critical issue for many families is child custody and visitation. In Illinois, a judge can deny parenting time if it is evident that the parent has done or will do any of the following:
- Act in any way that is not in the best interests of the child
- Hide children or keep them in a way that is not consistent with the parenting order
- Harass you or your other family members during the visitation appointment
- Abuse or endanger the child during visitation
It might also be possible to refuse parenting time with proper documentation if the abuser is dangerously intoxicated, abusive, or violent. This is assuming that the court grants parenting time at all.
If you have trouble with a continually abusive co-parent, we would urge you not to take matters into your own hands without solid legal advice. A lack of appropriate evidence to support your actions could result in an unfavorable legal position and a consequent risk to the future of your family.
Protecting You From Domestic Abuse
If you are in an abusive relationship or under the threat of domestic violence, you can file for a restraining order (an Order of Protection, in proper legal terminology) to keep the abuser away from you. These orders are enforceable by the local police, keeping you and your family safe from the dangerous person.
How do you get a restraining order? How long do they last? In short, it depends on the situation. Illinois law currently allows for three main types of protective orders for victims of domestic abuse:
- Emergency orders: Judges issue emergency orders based solely on personal testimony. These types of orders could also prevent the abuser from entering a shared home, give you possession of personal property, and prohibit the abuser from contacting you without any type of notification. If you need one of these types of protections, we would recommend you contact us so we can prepare your arguments accordingly. Emergency orders typically last for anywhere between two and three weeks.
- Plenary orders: Plenary Orders of Protection are a more permanent type of restraining order. These require a full court hearing and can last for up to two years. You may change or extend a plenary order without restriction if you follow proper procedure and satisfactorily rebut all challenges.
- Interim orders: Interim orders are a special type of restraining order most often used to bridge the gap between an emergency and a plenary order. If there is a delay before your court date, you could potentially get up to a 30-day extension via an interim order.
As you can see, you can probably quickly get help during an emergency from your local courthouse. However, to get the most permanent type of restraining order, a Plenary Order of Protection, you will have to go through a proper legal process. Here is a general outline:
- Establish a temporary restraining order: As mentioned above, you can typically file for a same-day issue of a temporary order of protection at the local court. This could be possible even in certain so-called disqualifying circumstances — please contact us for more information.
- Gather your evidence: Your temporary order should give you enough time to gather evidence of the domestic abuse. This might include photographs and videos of the event, witness testimony, photographs of injuries you sustained, any threats you received in writing or via text message, or photos of damage to your property, for example.
- Prepare your statements: You might have to tell the judge exactly what happened, in your own words. This statement usually includes all of the details you can remember: the nature of the threatening actions, any statements made to you, and the context in which the event occurred.
- Appear in court: Arriving promptly and presenting yourself appropriately for your court date, you would then appear before a judge to make the statements you prepared and present the evidence you gathered.
- Answer any challenges: Part of the justice process is hearing both sides. The person you name in your restraining order might make a statement contrary to yours. At times, you might have to (or have the opportunity to) respond following correct courtroom procedure.
You do not have to do this alone. Our attorneys can help you understand the process and secure protection from domestic violence. We are here for you, now and in the future. We can also help you file on behalf of minor children, people unable to file independently, or high-risk adults with disabilities.
Diligent, Committed, Aggressive Domestic Violence Attorneys
At the Law Office of Fedor Kozlov, P.C., we believe that everyone has the right to be heard and speak out. To us, no voice is too small or trifling. Our attorneys have assisted individuals of both genders, from different age brackets, and from various backgrounds. We have won many clients freedom from their abusive relationships. We take pride in providing staunch, relentless advocacy.
We also know the importance of the sensitive nature of these matters. Our priority is to handle your case efficiently while maintaining confidentiality. We work closely with you at every step of the process, continually providing informative updates and access to resources suitable for your specific circumstances.
If you have been a victim of domestic violence, our attorneys can help you evaluate your legal options under the Illinois Domestic Violence Act. Contact the Law Office of Fedor Kozlov, P.C., today at (847) 241-1299 to schedule a consultation with one of our experienced attorneys.